Smear Tests

Also known as 'Cervical screening'

The cervical screening (also known as Smear Test) is a method of detecting abnormal cell on the cervix (entrance to the womb from the vagina).

This method can prevent cervical cancer by detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells, yet this is not a test for cancer.

Who can get it?

Women between 25 and 49 are encouraged to have a Cervical Screening every three years, while women aged between 50 and 64 every five years.

Cervical cancer usually affects sexually active women between the ages of 30 and 45, but it is possible to affect women of all ages.

How does it work?

It’s a very simple procedure that takes around five minutes to perform.

An instrument called a speculum will be gently inserted into the vagina to hold the walls of your vagina open and make the cervix visible. With a small soft brush, some cells will be taken from the surface of your cervix. After this, the sample will be send to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope and the results will be directed back to your GP or practice nurse.

Although the procedure may be a bit uncomfortable and embarrassing, most women find it painless. You can also ask to be seen by a female doctor or nurse.

When can you get it?

You shouldn’t have a cervical screening test during your period, so try to book an appointment during the middle of your menstrual cycle (usually14 days from the start of your last period). Also you need to make sure not to use spermicide, barrier method of contraception or a lubricant jelly at least 24 hours before your test.

Where can you get it?

Please contact your local GP.