A cervical screening test (previously known as a smear test) is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix.
Detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells can prevent cervical cancer.
Cervical screening isn't a test for cancer; it's a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix. Most women's test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.
Most of these changes won't lead to cervical cancer and the cells may go back to normal on their own. However, in some cases, the abnormal cells need to be removed so they can't become cancerous.
About 3,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK.
All women who are registered with a GP are invited for cervical screening:
- aged 25 to 49 – every three years
- aged 50 to 64 – every five years
- over 65 – only women who haven't been screened since age 50 or those who have recently had abnormal tests
Being screened regularly means any abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix can be identified at an early stage and, if necessary, treated to stop cancer developing.
Booking an appointment
When your screening is due you will receive a letter asking you to book an appointment with us. If you received a letter some time ago but did not attend screening then please contact us as soon as possible to book an appointment. To book your cervical screening appointment please call us on 02392 009191.
We offer appointments in the morning, afternoon and evening at different surgery locations across Portsmouth. You can attend the site of your choice.
Please visit the following links for further information about cervical screening.
Information leaflets available in multiple languages, click Here to view
Cervical Screening - Jo's Trust
More than skin deep
Bowel cancer screening involves a test to check if you have or are at risk of bowel cancer.
Bowel cancer is a common type of cancer in both men and women. About 1 in 20 people will get it during their lifetime. 9 out of 10 people survive bowel cancer if caught early but the early signs are often hidden so it's important to take the test.
Screening can help detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when it's easier to treat. It can also be used to help check for and remove small growths in the bowel called polyps, which can turn into cancer over time.
When it's offered
When appropriate, you will receive a Faecal Occult Blood test (FOBt) kit by post to your home address. NHS bowel cancer screening is only offered to people aged 55 or over, as this is when you're more likely to get bowel cancer:
- if you're 55, you'll automatically be invited for a one-off bowel scope screening test
- if you're 60 to 74, you'll automatically be invited to do a home testing kit every 2 years
- if you're 75 or over, you can ask for a home testing kit every 2 years by calling the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60
Why take the test?
Bowel cancer screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage (in people with no symptoms), when treatment is more likely to be effective.
Bowel cancer screening can also detect polyps. These are not cancers, but may develop into cancers over time. They can easily be removed, reducing the risk of bowel cancer developing.
If you're too young for screening but are worried about a family history of bowel cancer, speak to your GP for advice.
Always see a GP if you have symptoms of bower cancer at any age – don't wait to have a screening test.