Cervical Screening Awareness Month

How to book?

You’ll be sent an invitation letter in the post when it’s time to book your cervical screening appointment.

Your letter will tell you where you can go for cervical screening and how to book.

Most cervical screening is done in a GP surgery by a female nurse or doctor.

In some parts of England, you may be able to go to a local sexual health clinic instead.

Call your GP surgery to book an appointment with them. You might be able to book the appointment online.

When to book

Try to book your appointment as soon as you get invited. If you missed your last cervical screening, you do not need to wait for a letter.

It’s best to book an appointment for a time when:

  • you’re not having a period – also try to avoid the 2 days before or after you bleed (if you do not have periods, you can book any time)
  • you have finished treatment if you have unusual vaginal discharge or a pelvic infection

Why is important to have cervical screen

Cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer. Cervical screening checks a sample of cells from your cervix for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). These types of HPV can cause abnormal changes to the cells in your cervix and are called “high risk” types of HPV. If these types of HPV are found during screening (an HPV positive result), the sample of cells is then checked for abnormal changes. If abnormal cells are not treated, they may turn into cervical cancer.


How Cervical Screening is Done 

You’ll need to undress, behind a screen, from the waist down. You’ll be given a sheet to put over you.

The nurse will ask you to lie back on a bed, usually with your legs bent, feet together and knees apart. Sometimes you may need to change position during the test.

They’ll gently put a smooth, tube-shaped tool (a speculum) into your vagina. A small amount of lubricant may be used.

The nurse will open the speculum so they can see your cervix.

Using a soft brush, they’ll take a small sample of cells from your cervix.

The nurse will close and remove the speculum and leave you to get dressed.

When your results should arrive

The nurse or doctor will tell you when you can expect your results letter.

If you have waited longer than you expected, call your GP surgery to see if they have any updates.

Try not to worry if it is taking a long time to get your results letter.

It does not mean anything is wrong, and most people will have a normal result.

What your results mean

Your results letter will explain what was tested for and what your results mean.

Sometimes you’ll be asked to come back in 3 months to have the test again. This does not mean there’s anything wrong, it’s because the results were unclear. This is sometimes called an inadequate result.