When you should have a cervical screening test
If you are a woman aged 25 to 60 and have a cervix (neck of the womb), you should have a cervical screening (smear test) when it's due. This is the best way to reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer.
Even if you have had the HPV vaccination, you should have your screening test each time it's due. This is because the HPV vaccine doesn't guarantee complete protection against cervical cancer.
Depending on your age, you should have a test:
- aged 25 to 44 - every 3 years
- aged 45 to 60 years - every 5 years
The frequency of when you are invited to have a cervical screening test is based on clinical evidence and international best practice.
We may also ask you to have more frequent screening tests - in 12 months. But this will only be if we feel that there is a need for extra monitoring.
If you are aged 25 to 60 and have never had a cervical screening test, you can make an appointment with a registered GP, doctor or clinic to have one.
You should have your second screening test 3 years after you have your first one. This is regardless of what age you are when you have your first screening test.
If you are aged 25 to 60 and on our register, we will send you a letter to remind you when your screening test is due.
You don't need to get this letter to book a test. If your test is due, you can go ahead and book a test with a GP or nurse who is registered with CervicalCheck.
You can have the test done at a time that suits you. There is no expiry date on your letter.
If you can't attend for a screening test right away, you can go when it suits you.The letter we send you is to remind you when your screening test is due. You don't need to show the letter at your appointment. But, if you have it, it may be useful for your GP or nurse to see the letter.
If you are visually impaired, you can request to be notified by a telephone call when your screening test is due.