Find information on how we’re keeping you safe from COVID-19 here

To top

What is Cervical Smear/HPV Screening?

What is Cervical Screening?

The cervix is the opening to your womb from your vagina. Cervical screening (a smear test) checks the health of your cervix. All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 should have cervical screening. During the screening appointment, a small sample of cells will be taken from your cervix.

Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, it’s a test to help prevent cancer. So, cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.

What is HPV?

HPV is a name given to a group of common viruses, many of which most people will get at some point in their life. Cervical screening checks a sample of cells from your cervix for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV test is a test for a virus called high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause cervical cell changes to develop into cervical cancer.

What happens after a Cervical Smear/HPV Screening?

Depending on the results of your test, you doctor at OneWelbeck will recommend different things:

If you don’t have high-risk HPV:

  • If you do not have high-risk HPV, your sample will not be looked at for cell changes. This is because it is very unlikely you will develop cell changes or cervical cancer without having high-risk HPV.
  • Depending on your age, you will be invited to have another screening in 3-5 years.

If you do have high-risk HPV and your results are positive:

  • If these types of HPV are found during screening, your doctor will check the same cells for any abnormal changes
  • If there are no cell changes, you will be invited back for cervical screening in 1 year. This is to make sure the HPV has cleared.
  • If high-risk HPV and cell changes are found, you will be invited for further tests at colposcopy. If abnormal cells are not treated, they may turn into cervical cancer.
  • Not all cell changes develop into cervical cancer, but it is important that they are monitored and treated if needed.