Why is cervical screening important?

Cervical screening (a smear test) can detect abnormal changes before they turn into cancer. Treating these early changes can prevent cancer from developing.

Cervical screening is offered to women, some transgender men and some non-binary people aged 25-64 in the UK. It is offered every three years for those aged 25 to 49 and every five years from 50 to 64.

What is the cervical screening process?

Cervical screening checks the health of the cervix – the opening to the womb from the vagina. The screening is usually done by a female nurse who will be happy to answer any questions people have.

The process:

  • The individual will be asked to undress in a private changing area, so they are naked from the waist down
  • A smooth tube-shaped tool called a speculum will be inserted into the vagina so the cervix can be seen
  • The nurse will then use a soft brush to collect a small sample of cells from the cervix
  • This will be sent to a lab to check for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause changes to the cells in the cervix

Cervical screening results are usually sent in a letter. If human papillomavirus (HPV) is HPV is found the next step will either be another cervical screening test, or a different type of test called a colposcopy that takes a closer look at the cervix.

Click the link below to download the cervical screening pathway or for more information from the NHS on the process of cervical screening click here.

Where can people access cervical screening?

GP practices and sexual health clinics across Cheshire and Merseyside offer cervical screening. Contact your GP for further information or to book an appointment.

The Conversational Toolkit

This hub has been created to give you all the tools and information you need to promote the importance of cancer screening and encourage people to get checked. Let’s work together to raise awareness and save lives.

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