NHS Health Check, vaccinations and immunisations

Cervical screening

Easy read

Having a smear test (Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust website, opens in a new window)

What is cervical screening?

A cervical screening test (previously known as a smear test) is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix. The cervix is the entrance to the womb from the vagina.

Who is the cervical screening for?

Women aged 25 to 64 who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for cervical screening. Read more at NHS Choices - Cervical Screening - When it is offered (opens in a new window).

Why have the screening?

Cervical cancer develops in the women cervix and affects women between 30-45 years of age. Cervical screening is a test for cancer - it will tell you about the health of your cervix. Detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells can prevent cervical cancer.

How is the screening done?

About cervical cancer

Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is a very common virus that can be passed on through any type of sexual contact with a man or a woman. For more information on cervical cancer including how to prevent it visit NHS Choices - Cervical cancer (opens in a new window).

All girls can get the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine free from the NHS from the age of 12 up to their 18th birthday. This helps protect against cervical cancer. Information on HPV vaccination can be found at NHS Choices - HPV vaccine (opens in a new window).


Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (opens in a new window) is a UK charity dedicated to women, their families and friends affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. They provide information and support as well as campaigning for excellence in cervical cancer treatment and prevention