Return to Programmes list
Cervical screening is not a test for cancer. It is a method of preventing cancer by detecting and treating early abnormalities which, if left untreated, could lead to cancer in a woman's cervix (the neck of the womb).
The first stage in cervical screening is to take a sample of cells from the cervix for analysis. A doctor or nurse inserts an instrument (speculum) to open the woman's vagina and uses a brush to sweep around the cervix. Most women consider the procedure to be only mildly uncomfortable. The brush is then rinsed in liquid solution (read more on LBC) and the resulting sample is sent to a laboratory for examination under a microscope.
All women aged between 25 and 64 are regularly invited for screening so that conditions which might otherwise develop into invasive cancer can be identified and treated.
Link - Department of Health: Clinical practice guidelines for the assessment of young women aged 20-24 with abnormal vaginal bleeding
Read more about the cervical screening programme (Link to external site)