The Importance of Cervical Screening

Cervical screening, or more commonly known, a smear test, checks the health of your cervix (the opening of the womb from your vagina). It is not a test for cancer but a test to help prevent cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is preventable…

The British Journal of Cancer (2016) estimated that in England, screening currently prevents 70% of cervical cancer deaths across all ages. Even though with this high figure, the numbers of people having smear tests has fallen in the last 10 years!

We have therefore written this blog to try and encourage all those who are eligible for a smear test to have it done…

What is a cervical screening test?

Watch this video from Cancer Research UK

Who is invited to take part in cervical screening?

All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 should be invited by letter.

Try not to put off cervical screening. It’s one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.

How cervical screening prevents cancer

Cervical screening may check for:

  • abnormal cell changes in your cervix – left untreated, this could turn into cancer
  • HPV – some types of HPV can lead to cell changes in your cervix and cancer – read more about Human Papillomavirus (

Who is at risk?

If you have a cervix and have had any kind of sexual contact, with a man or woman, you could get cervical cancer. Even if:

  • you have had the HPV vaccine – it does not protect you from all types of HPV, so you’re still at risk of cervical cancer
  • you have only had 1 sexual partner – you can get HPV the first time you’re sexually active
  • you have had the same partner, or not had sex, for a long time – you can have HPV for a long time without knowing it
  • you’re a lesbian or bisexual – you’re at risk if you have had any sexual contact
  • you’re a trans man with a cervix – read about if trans men should have cervical screening (
  • you have had a partial hysterectomy that did not remove all of your cervix

But what if you are still a virgin? The answer:

When will you be invited? Cervical Screening

All women and people with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 64 should go for regular cervical screening. You’ll get a letter in the post inviting you to make an appointment.

  • Under 25 – up to 6 months before you turn 25
  • 25 to 49 – every 3 years
  • 50 to 64 – every 5 years
  • 65 or older – only if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal

If you receive a letter inviting you for a smear test, book an appointment with us at your earliest convenience.

If you missed your last screening appointment, you do not need to wait for another letter – just call us and book yourself in.

Call us on 01654 702 224.

Please come and see us if you are worried about cervical cancer or have the following symptoms:

  • bleeding between periods, during or after sex, or after you have been through the menopause
  • unusual vaginal discharge

Cervical screening is a choice

It’s your choice if you want to go for cervical screening. But cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect you from cervical cancer.

You can opt out – just let us know you would like to be taken off the cervical screening list… you can always be put back on.

Try not to put off cervical screening. It’s one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.

For more information on cervical screening: