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Cervical Screening

Why does the NHS offer cervical screening?

NHS cervical screening helps prevent cervical cancer. It saves as many as 5,000 lives from cervical cancer each year in the UK. The NHS offers cervical screening to all women aged 25 to 49 every 3 years and to all women aged 50 to 64 every 5 years. This is because most cervical cancers develop in women aged 25 to 64.

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer happens when cells in the cervix grow in an uncontrolled way and build up to form a lump (also called a tumour). As the tumour grows, cells can eventually spread to other parts of the body and become life-threatening. Your cervix is the lowest part of your uterus (or womb), and it is found at the top of your vagina.

What is cervical screening?

Cervical screening (which used to be called the ‘smear test’) involves taking a small sample of cells from the surface of your cervix. The sample is sent to a laboratory and checked under a microscope to see if there are any abnormal cells. Abnormal cells are not cancer, but they could develop into cancer if they are left untreated. Depending on the result of your test, your sample may be tested for the types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause cervical cancer. As a next step you may be offered another test (called a colposcopy) to look at your cervix more closely. If the person carrying out the colposcopy finds abnormal cells, they will suggest that you have the cells removed, usually during another colposcopy. This is how screening can prevent cervical cancer.

Cervical Screening Result

You should receive a letter telling you your results within approximately 2 weeks of your test. Out of 100 women who have cervical screening, about 94 will have a normal result. If you have a normal result, you have a very low risk of developing cervical cancer before your next screening test.

Booking An Appointment

You can have your cervical screening done in any of these venues:

  • The GP practice with a Nurse
  • One of the GP Alliance Hubs with a Nurse who offer appointments from 6.30-10pm Mon-Fri and 10am-4pm Sat, Sun and Bank Holidays.

We recommend all patients who receive an invite attend for cervical screening.

Please see the leaflet below for further information:

Cervical Screening – Helping you to decide