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Cervical Screening (“Smears”)

It is recommended that all women have regular cervical smears – even those who have never been sexually active can very rarely develop cervical cancer.

The national screening intervals:

  • 25 – 49 yrs every 3 years
  • 50 – 64yrs every 5 years
  • Those aged 65+ should have a smear only if not having been screened since age 50 or have had recent abnormal tests.

Book your appointment with a Practice Nurse. The national computer recall system will call you up every 3-5 years as a reminder but if you are due, you don’t need to wait if you are called (but please don’t book if you are not due!). You should avoid a time during your period – best to wait a few days after – or if you are having treatment for a vaginal discharge. Avoid using any vaginal medications, lubricants or creams in the 2 days before you have your test as they can affect the results.

Your results are sent to you by letter from the screening service around 14 days after your test.

Early detection and treatment can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers and relies now on testing for HPV, the virus that is responsible. For information about the National Cervical Screening Programme and the test itself click here.

Symptoms which could suggest cervical cancer can include:

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

If you are worried, book an appointment with one of the female doctors – do not wait for your next cervical screening appointment.