Cervical screening, or the “smear test”, is a routine health check that identifies potentially harmful cells and changes on the cervix. Cervical screening is not a test for cancer but catching any changes early can reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer. Cervical cancer kills two women every day. Regular screenings can help reduce that number, which is why it’s so important you attend your screening when invited.
Women and people with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 64 are invited for screening and will receive a letter in the post inviting them to make an appointment:
Under 25 years of age
invited up to 6 months before you turn 25
Aged 25 to 49
invited every 3 years
Aged 50 to 64
invited every 5 years
Aged 65 or older
only invited if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal.
The nurse doing your screening is trained to do all they can to put you at ease during your appointment and are on hand to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Watch our video which shows what a typical cervical screening appointment:
The symptoms of cervical cancer are not always obvious, and it may not cause any at all until it’s reached an advanced stage, click here for more details. This is why it’s very important to you attend all your cervical screening appointments.
What is HPV?
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the name for a very common group of viruses. You can get it from any kind of skin-to-skin contact of the genital area. Most people will get some type of HPV during their lives. Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by infection with certain types of HPV.