Cervical screening saves lives

Cervical screening saves lives logo

The NHS Cervical Screening Programme has made a big impact on cervical cancer mortality since it was established in 1988, saving an estimated 5,000 lives a year, but coverage is at a 20-year low.

Every day, 9 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 2 women lose their lives to the disease. 75% of cervical cancers can be prevented by cervical screening (smear tests).

Cervical screening is a free health test that helps prevent cervical cancer. It checks for cell changes (abnormalities) on your cervix caused by high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV). It is not a test for cancer. 

In the UK, you are automatically invited for cervical screening if you are: 

  • between the ages of 25 to 64
  • registered as female with a GP surgery.

 You are invited: 

  • every 3 years between age 25 and 49
  • every 5 years between age 50 and 64.

It's important that all women and people with a cervix know how cervical cancer can be prevented. Reduce your risk of getting the disease by attending your cervical screening when invited, know the symptoms of cervical cancer and seek medical advice if experiencing any of these symptoms, take up the HPV vaccination (if aged 11-18 years of age) and know where to find support and further information. 

Don't ignore your cervical screening invite. If you've missed your last cervical screening, book an appointment with your GP practice now. Don't be embarrassed to go for your test - it should only take about 3 minutes and could save your life.

If you have any questions at all or need any further information please contact the Helpline on 0808 802 8000.

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