Cervical screening (smear test)

Cervical screening is a test to help prevent cancer.

Try not to put off cervical screening. It's one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.


All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 should be invited by letter automatically.

If you've not been invited and think you are eligible, please contact the surgery.

How often you need screening

How often you need screening depends on how old you are.

If you're:

  • under 25, you'll be invited up to 6 months before you turn 25
  • 25 to 49, you'll be invited every 3 years
  • 50 to 64, you'll be invited every 5 years
  • 65 or older, you'll only be invited only if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal

Getting an appointment

You'll get a letter in the post inviting you to make an appointment.

The letter will tell you where you can go and how to request an appointment.

You can also request an appointment if you think you need cervical screening but you've:

  • not been sent a letter
  • lost the letter

Find out more on the NHS website

Read the guide to cervical screening on the NHS website.