What is a 'smear test'?
A cervical screening test (sometimes known as a smear test) is carried out to check for abnormal cells on a woman’s cervix. The cervix is the entrance to the womb and is inside the vagina.
Abnormal cells can later lead to cervical cancer which currently affects around 3,000 women every year, so it’s an important test to have.
Who should have a cervical screening test?
NHS guidelines are for all women (or anyone that has a cervix) to have regular cervical screening from age 25 to 64.
- aged 25 to 49 – every 3 years
- aged 50 to 64 – every 5 years
- over 65 – only women who have recently had abnormal tests
What happens during a cervical screening test?
If you are registered with a GP you will get a letter inviting you to attend a cervical screening appointment. You should arrange your appointment for a time when you do not have your period.