What is Cervical Screening?

Cervical screening (previously called a smear test) is an early detection test for cervical cancer. It can show up abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix caused by high risk HPV (human papilloma virus) before a cancer develops and before there are any outward signs.

Click here for more information about HPV.

These can be taken by your GP surgery, the Orchard Centre or at Choices. Look in the ‘Yellow Pages’ under ‘Doctors’ for the telephone number of your nearest surgery.

If you have your test at the clinic, a copy of your result will then be forwarded to your GP.

Anyone with a cervix should have screening from the age of 25 until the age of 65. Health and Social Care, in line with the UK, recommend that a test should be done once every 3 years, under the age of 50, and every 5 years over the age of 50, unless you notice something is wrong or that your previous test result showed that another test was necessary sooner.

Under 25’s and over 65‘s do not need cervical screening, however you should see a doctor if you develop any of the following symptoms:

Abnormal bleeding, especially after sex
Unusual discharge
Pain during sex
Persistent unexplained low back pain
For more information about symptoms and tests outside of the screening programme : Under 25’s click here and Over 65’s click here

If you are 25-65 yrs and have never had a cervical screening test have one NOW!

If you have had a hysterectomy you do not usually need to have a further screening test unless the hysterectomy has been performed due to previous abnormal smear tests or if the hysterectomy was sub-total (i.e. the cervix was left in place). In some cases regular check- ups may be necessary and your gynaecologist will advise you as to the need for further tests.

It is best not to have the test taken when you are about to have a period or in the few days after your period has finished.

The test involves a gentle internal examination, through the vagina (front passage). A sample (smear) of cells is taken from the cervix with a small brush. It is not painful but can feel a little uncomfortable. The more relaxed you are, the less discomfort you will feel. The sample taken will be put into a liquid medium and sent to a hospital in the UK for screening. The results are usually available in about four weeks and you will be sent your result letter through the post.

If you are feeling anxious or have had a difficult experience previously please talk to a doctor or nurse about ways to make the procedure more comfortable and less stressful.

For more information about having a cervical screening test click here

Cervical screening for people with a learning disability

Screening for Transgender and/or Non- binary people

Cervical screening is now FREE locally to Bailiwick residents.