Buckland Surgery

Overdue Your Cervical Smear?

Macmillan Cervical Smear Information

Here are some key information about Cervical Smears

  • Two women die every day from cervical cancer in England, yet it is one of the most preventable cancers and getting your screening can help stop it before it starts.
  • Screening helps prevent cervical cancer by checking for a virus called high-risk HPV which causes nearly all cervical cancers. This is the best way to find out who is at higher risk of developing the cervical cell changes that over time could potentially lead to cervical cancer. Any cervical cell changes can be treated, preventing cervical cancer.
  • But don’t be alarmed if you have HPV as it does not mean you have cervical cancer – HPV is a common virus that most people will get at some point during their lives.
  • Women and people with a cervix aged 25-64 are eligible for screening. Those registered as female with their GP practice are invited for routine screening every three years if they are aged 25-49 and every five years if they are aged 50-64. Those registered as male will need to request an appointment from their GP or a local sexual health clinic.
  • Life can be hectic and it’s easy to let your cervical screening appointment fall to the bottom of your ‘to do’ list, but it only lasts a few minutes – it’s a few minutes that could save your life.
  • For most women and people with a cervix, cervical screening tests are not painful. However, if you are worried that you may find the test uncomfortable, remember you are in control and can ask to stop at any time. If you are worried about it being uncomfortable, or you have found screening difficult in the past, talk to the nurse or doctor doing the test so they can give you the right support.
  • If you’re embarrassed about cervical screening then you’re not alone. Talk to the nurse or doctor doing the test, who can help put you at ease.
  • During COVID-19 your GP practice remains open and will offer cervical screening They have put in place safety measures to keep you safe during your cervical screening appointment.

  • Cervical screening is not a test for cancer. It helps prevent cervical cancer by checking for high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which causes nearly all cervical cancers. It means any cervical cell abnormalities can be treated. If left untreated, these cells can develop into cancer.
  • HPV is present on the skin, so it is easy to get and difficult to completely protect against.
  • HPV can stay in the body for many years. It can stay at very low or undetectable levels and not cause any problems. However, sometimes it can cause abnormal cells in your cervix to develop. These can, over time, turn into cancer if left untreated
  • The symptoms of cervical cancer are not always obvious, and it may not cause any symptoms at all until it’s reached an advanced stage. That’s why it’s important that you attend all your cervical screening appointments.
  • The HPV vaccine protects against the most common types of HPV that cause cervical cancer. However, even if you’ve been vaccinated it’s important that you attend your cervical screening appointment because the HPV vaccine doesn’t prevent all cervical cancers.

Date published: 19th June, 2023
Date last updated: 19th June, 2023