Cervical Screening (Smear tests)
Cervical screening 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.
From September 2022, all 12 and 13 year olds in school will be offered, on the NHS, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
It helps protect against cancers caused by HPV, including:
- Cervical cancer
- Some mouth and throat (head and neck) cancers
- Some cancers of the anal and genital areas
What is HPV?
HPV is the name given to a very common group of viruses.
There are many types of HPV, some of which are called "high risk" because they're linked to the development of cancers, such as cervical cancer, anal cancer, genital cancers and cancers of the head and neck.
HPV infections do not usually cause any symptoms, and most people will not know they're infected.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 50, but younger women can also get breast cancer.
About 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. There's a good chance of recovery if it's detected at an early stage.
For this reason, it's vital that women check their breasts regularly for any changes and always have any changes examined by your GP.