Cervical Screening (Smear Tests)

A cervical screening test (smear test) is a method of preventing cervical cancer by detecting abnormal cells in the cervix (lower part of the womb).

Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, but it is a test to check the health of the cervix. Most women's test results show that everything is normal. But for one in 20 women, the test will show some changes in the cells of the cervix.

Most of these changes will not lead to cervical cancer and the cells will go back to normal on their own. In some cases, the abnormal cells need to be treated to prevent them becoming a problem later.

Around 900 women die of cervical cancer in England each year. However, many of those who develop it have not been screened regularly. Not going for cervical screening is one of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer.

Visit the NHS Choices website for more information.

Download our document on cervical screening.