Cervical screening is offered via the national Cervical Screening Programme to check the cervix for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) or cervical cell changes (abnormal cells).
If you are registered with a GP, you will receive a letter telling you it is time for your cervical screening appointment and it is best to book your appointment as soon as you receive the invitation letter. You can usually do this online or over the phone and, In some areas, sexual health clinics offer cervical screening. You may choose to contact your local clinic if you aren’t able to access, or don’t feel comfortable at, your GP surgery. The national screening age for women with a cervix, in England, is 25-64 years of age.
Do not book a cervical screening appointment if you or someone you live with has coronavirus. Instead, call your GP surgery or local screening service to discuss your symptoms, write down any questions you would like to ask, such as what safety measures they have in place or if your GP surgery has any specific instructions for you. It is best not to book cervical screening when you have your menstrual cycle (period) because it can be difficult to get a result. Try not to use spermicide or oil-based lubricant (lube) for 24 hours before the test, as they can affect the results. If you're pregnant, have recently given birth, you're planning a pregnancy, or you have recently had a miscarriage or abortion please speak to your sexual health clinic, GP or practice nurse before you attend for a cervical smear.
If you are worried about symptoms such as bleeding between periods, during or after sex or after you have been through the menopause or have an unusual vaginal discharge, do not wait for your next cervical screening appointment, contact your GP or local sexual health clinic for an assessment.
Get help by phone – national cervical screening helpline
Phone: 0808 802 8000
Cancer Research UK
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust
Phone: 0808 802 8000
The Eve Appeal
Phone: 0808 802 0019
3rd Floor, City of Coventry Health Centre, Stoney Stanton Road, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 4FS
0300 020 0027