Cervical Screening

What is Cervical Screening?

 

The cervical screening test (smear test) is designed to check your cervix (neck of the womb) for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

If HPV is found, we’ll then look at the same sample for cell changes. HPV causes 99% of all cervical cancers.

Cervical screening can stop cervical cancer before it starts.

Do I Need Cervical Screening?

Cervical cancer can often be prevented. The signs that it may develop can be spotted early on so it can be stopped before it even gets started.

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.

You should continue to have regular cervical screening, even if you:

  • haven't been sexually active for a long time
  • have been through the menopause
  • have had the HPV vaccination
  • are a lesbian or bisexual - HPV can be passed on through other forms of sexual activity

You might not need the test if you:

  • have had a hysterectomy
  • are pregnant
  • have never been sexually active as there's less risk of you having HPV

What to do if you are pregnant and get a letter inviting you for your smear test

If you receive your letter inviting you for your smear test when pregnant, please do not make an appointment at this stage.  We would urge you to book an appointment 3 months after giving birth.  

Who Should Have The Test?

Cervical screening is routinely offered to women and anyone with a cervix in Scotland between the ages of 25 and 64.

Women on non-routine screening (where screening results have shown changes that need further investigation or follow up) will be invited up to 70 years of age.

Trans-women

If you're a trans-woman you:

  • won't have a cervix
  • aren't at risk of cervical cancer
  • don't need to attend for cervical screening

You'll be automatically invited if you've changed your CHI number to reflect your female gender after 14 June 2015. However, you won't need to be screened as you don't have a cervix. If this applies to you, contact your GP.

You won't be invited if you haven't changed your CHI number to reflect your female gender.

Trans-men

If you're a trans-man and still have your cervix (entrance to the womb from the vagina) you're at risk of developing cervical cancer and are eligible for cervical screening.

You'll be automatically invited if you haven't changed your CHI number to reflect your male gender.

You won't be automatically invited if you've changed your CHI number to reflect your male gender on or before 14 June 2015. Contact your GP to make sure you're included in the cervical screening programme.

Gender reassignment

If you're a trans-man and have had a total hysterectomy you:

  • won't have a cervix
  • aren't at risk of cervical cancer
  • don't need to attend for cervical screening

You'll be automatically invited if you haven't changed your CHI number to reflect your male gender on or after 14 June 2015. However, you won't need to be screened as you don't have a cervix.

If this applies to you, contact your GP.

You won't be invited if you've changed your CHI number to reflect your male gender.

 

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Most changes in the cells of the cervix are caused by HPV.

It's very common, with 4 out of 5 people in Scotland catching it at some point in their lives.

As there are usually no symptoms, many people have it for months or years without knowing it.

Your body fights off most HPV infections naturally, but about 1 in 10 infections are harder to get rid of.

For further information go to www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/cervical/

To find out more about HPV go to https://www.jostrust.org.uk/information/hpv

Appointments are available with either the Practice Nurse/GP by telephoning the surgery to arrange a double appointment