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NHS Kingston

Cervical cancer screening

Also see cervical cancer vaccination

Who is it for?

All women between 25 and 64 years of age are eligible for a free cervical screening test.

The NHS Cervical Screening Programme now offers screening at different intervals: Every three years for women aged 25-49 and every five years for women aged 50-65.

What is the benefit?

Around 900 women die of cervical cancer in England each year. However, cervical cancer can often be prevented. The signs that it may develop can be spotted early on so it can be stopped before it even gets started.

Cervical screening is not a test for diagnosing cervical cancer. It is a test to check the health of the cervix, which is the lower part of the womb (often called the neck of the womb). The purpose of the test is to identify changes in the cells before they become cancerous, therefore preventing cancer from occurring.

Cancer Research UK scientists estimate that up to 4,500 lives will be saved each year in England by cervical screening.

How do I access this service?

Women who fall in these age groups should be invited by their GP to attend the surgery for their cervical screen, or smear test. If you have not been invited then please contact your GP.

What happens then?

Your GP or a practice nurse will do your smear test in the surgery.  The sample will be sent of to a laboratory where the cells will be examined for anything unusual.  For many women the test results show that everything is fine but for one in 20 women, the test shows changes in cells that can be caused by many things.

If any abnormal or pre-cancerous cells are identified, the laboratory will inform your GP will be informed and you will automatically receive an appointments to attend the colposcopy clinic at Kingston Hospital for further investigation.

If you are found to have pre-cancerous cells, these may be removed to prevent cancer occurring in the future. Treatment, if it is needed, is a minor procedure and is usually done in an outpatient clinic. This means you will not have to stay overnight.

Contact details and more information

If you are in the eligible age group and haven’t been invited for screening, please contact your GP.

Visit the national cancer screening website for more information:

Kingston Clinical Commissioning Group, 2nd floor, Thames House,
180 High Street, Teddington, TW11 8HU
Tel: 020 39419900

NHS 111 NHS Choices