What is cervical screening?
Cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.
Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, it’s a test to help prevent cancer.
- Cervical screening (a smear test) checks the health of your cervix. The cervix is the opening to your womb from your vagina.
- It’s not a test for cancer, it’s a test to help prevent cancer.
- All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 should be invited by letter.
- During the screening appointment, a small sample of cells will be taken from your cervix.
- The sample is checked for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause changes to the cells of your cervix. These are called “high risk” types of HPV.
- If these types of HPV are not found, you do not need any further tests.
- If these types of HPV are found, the sample is then checked for any changes in the cells of your cervix. These can then be treated before they get a chance to turn into cervical cancer.
- You’ll get your results by letter, usually in about 2 weeks. It will explain what happens next.
You may need more help and support with cervical screening for many reasons.
Speak to the GP at our surgery if you have questions about cervical screening invitations, results or any symptoms you have.
Support for everyone
For more information and support about going for cervical screening, results and treatment, you can contact Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust by:
- joining the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust Forum
- calling the helpline on 0808 802 8000
- using its Ask the Expert service
- more information on NHS website here
Support for people with a learning disability
- GOV.UK has an easy read guide to cervical screening
- Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has information and a film about cervical screening if you have a learning disability, and an easy read guide to having a smear test
Support for LGBT people
- the LGBT Foundation has information and support about cervical screening for LGBT people
- GOV.UK has leaflets on cervical screening for lesbian and bisexual women and cervical screening for trans and non-binary people
Support for people with vulval pain
- the Vulval Pain Society has information about cervical screening if you have any kind of vulval pain, such as vaginismus
Support after sexual violence
If you have experienced sexual violence, you may find the idea of cervical screening very difficult.
The My Body Back Project gives support after sexual violence by running:
- screening clinics for people who have experienced sexual violence
- tips and tricks workshops about cervical screening
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has information, advice and support about cervical screening after sexual violence please click here to visit
Support from the Cervical Screening Programme
You can contact the Public Health England Screening Helpdesk if you have any questions about cervical screening practice or policy (England only) by:
- calling the helpdesk on 020 3682 0890
- emailing [email protected]
The PHE helpdesk does not have access to medical records and is not able to provide medical advice or screening results. Speak to our surgery for information about your cervical screening test or results.