Cervical Screening

What is cervical screening?

Cervical screening, commonly known as the smear test, is a routine health check that identifies potentially harmful cells and changes on the cervix. Cervical screening is not a test for cancer but catching any changes early can reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer. Cervical cancer kills two women every day. Regular screenings can help reduce that number, which is why it’s so important you attend your screening when invited.

Who is the screening for?

If you are a woman, or someone with a cervix, you will be invited for cervical screening at regular intervals:

  • If you’re aged 25-49, you’ll be invited every 3 years
  • If you’re aged 50-64, you’ll be invited every 5 years

It is advisable you have regular cervical screenings, but ultimately, it is your choice whether you attend.

Our nurses are trained to do all they can to put you at ease during your appointment and are on hand to answer any questions or concerns you may have. However, whether you attend your screening or not, is ultimately your choice.

How to book your cervical screening appointment?

If you are due a cervical screening you can book an appointment with our reception.

If you can’t make it during our opening hours, you can book your cervical screening on a Saturday at one of the Camden GP Hubs by calling 020 7391 9979.

Things to ask when you book

It’s OK to let us know if you have any worries about going for cervical screening.

Do:

    • let us know if you’d like a woman to do the test – most nurses and doctors who take cervical screening samples are female
    • let us know if you’d like someone else to be in the room with you (a chaperone) – this could be someone you know, another nurse or a trained member of staff
    • let us know if you’re finding the test more difficult after going through the menopause – they can prescribe a vaginal oestrogen cream or pessary before the test
    • ask for a smaller speculum (a smooth, tube-shaped tool that’s put into your vagina so they can see your cervix).

Don’t:

  • try not to be embarrassed about talking to the nurse on the day – they’re trained to make you feel more comfortable and provide support.
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