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Nottingham Trent University
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Cervical Screening (Smear Tests)

What is cervical screening?

Cervical screening is a free health test on the NHS that helps to prevent cervical cancer by checking for a virus named HPV. It also tests for changes to cervical cells. The test is usually carried out by a nurse who will take a sample of cells from your cervix using a small, soft brush. The test only takes a few minutes and you can always ask for a chaperone or bring a friend/family member to your appointment to put you at ease!

Who is invited for cervical screening?

You will be invited for a cervical screen if you have a cervix. Women are usually born with a cervix, but trans men, non-binary and intersex people may also have one too. You are automatically invited to a cervical screening if you are registered as female at your GP surgery, and you are between the ages of 25 to 64. The results of your cervical screening determines how often you will be invited, for example it could be every year, every 3 years or every 5 years.

Booking your appointment:

Around the time of your 25th birthday, you will receive a letter asking you book an appointment for your cervical screening. You can book by calling the surgery or putting it as a request on AskmyGP. You could normally book via the NHS app or online booking system too, however due to Covid-19, the former options will be more effective.

More information of cervical screening:

  • Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust– has a wealth of information about cervical screening, such as how to prepare for your appointment, what to expect when you get the surgery, the results process and more.
  • Live Smear Test and Q&A video by Zoe Sugg– Made in collaboration with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, an influencer takes a camera into her cervical screening appointment with her and documents the process. It also includes a Q&A with the nurse to answer common question regarding cervical screening appointments.
  • NHS Cervical screening information– more information on how tests are carried out, why it’s important to attend your appointment, how to book and further help and support.
  • NHS Cervical Screening: Helping you decide (available in multiple languages!)– Leaflets containing lots of information about cervical screening to help you make an informed decision about your cervical screening appointment.