What is cervical screening

Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix. Almost all cases are caused by a virus called human papilomavirus (HPV). This is a very common virus that most people will have at some time during their life.

Only certain types of HPV cause cervical cancer. Your screening test will look for high-risk types of HPV. By finding cell changes early, screening can prevent cervical cancer from developing. 

Having a Cervical Screening test

The cervical screening test only takes about five minutes. It is usually carried out by a nurse in a private room. Here's the process:

  • You will be asked to undress from your waist down. It may be easier to wear a skirt or dress.
  • You will need to lie on your back on a couch with your knees bent and your legs bent and your legs open.
  • The nurse will gently put a speculum (medical instrument) into your vagina so they can see your cervix.
  • The nurse will then gently brush cells from the cervix using a soft brush.
  • The cells will be tested. If high-risk HPV is found, the sample will be looked at for cell changes.

Remember: You can take somebody with your for support if you wish. Talk to your practice nurse if you have any concerns.