Cervical screening is a free health test that helps prevent cervical cancer. It checks for a virus called high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) and, if you have HPV, cervical cell changes (abnormal cells).
You should be invited for cervical screening if you have a cervix. Women are usually born with a cervix. Trans men, non-binary and intersex people may also have one.
In the UK, you are automatically invited for cervical screening if you are:
- between the ages of 25 to 64
- registered as female with a GP surgery
What is the difference between cervical screening and a smear test?
There is no difference between cervical screening and a smear test. They are two different names for the same test.
Why can’t I have cervical screening unless I am age 25 to 64?
It is very rare to develop cervical cancer under the age of 25. It is also rare to develop cervical cancer over the age of 64, if you have had regular cervical screening.
Should LGBT+ people with a cervix go for cervical screening?
All women and people with a cervix between age 25 and 64 can go for regular cervical screening, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Most cervical cell changes and cervical cancers are caused by persistent infection with HPV. As HPV can be passed on through any skin-to-skin contact in the genital area, anyone having any kind of sex is at risk of getting it.
Watch this video: ‘Your Guide to Cervical Screening (smear test)’ to find out more.
Don’t ignore your cervical screening invitation. Contact your GP if you need to reschedule your appointment.