What is cervical screening?
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.
Cervical screening (smear testing) is available for free and we offer a friendly and non-judgemental service, to help you feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
When you will be invited for a cervical screening:
All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 should be invited by letter and you can book an appointment as soon as you get a letter.
If you missed your last cervical screening, you do not need to wait for a letter to book an appointment.
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
When cervical screening is not recommended:
If you're under 25
You will not be invited for cervical screening until you're 25 because:
- Cervical cancer is very rare in people under 25.
- It might lead to having treatment you do not need – abnormal cell changes often go back to normal in younger women.
If you're 65 or older
You'll usually stop being invited for screening once you turn 65. This is because it's very unlikely that you'll get cervical cancer at this age.
You'll only be invited again if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal.
If you're 65 or older and have never been for cervical screening, or have not had cervical screening since the age of 50, you can ask your GP for a test.