Why have regular smear tests
Most cervical cancers develop from an infection – called HPV, or the human papillomavirus – that almost everybody is exposed to if they have had sex. But with regular smear tests (every 3 years) we can detect it and get onto it, before it becomes cancer.
Smear tests save lives
Early treatment is highly successful
Since the national screening programme started, the number of women who die of cervical cancer has dropped by nearly two thirds. And if every woman you know got tested regularly, the number could drop even lower.
You can find out more at Preventing cervical cancer.
Who should have smear tests?
- are a woman or trans or non-binary person with a cervix
- are aged between 20 and 69
- have ever been sexually active
then you should have regular smear tests.
This includes if you:
- are immunised against HPV
- are single
- only have sex with women
- have a disability
- have been through menopause
- are no longer having sex.
If you have had a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) check with your doctor or smear taker if you still need to be screened.