In Wales, you are invited for cervical screening (a smear test) from age 25 until age 64. Cervical screening is not recommended for anyone under 25 years old.
Cervical cancer is very rare in the under-25s, and cervical screening hasn’t been shown to reduce cancer cases in this age group. Most cell changes in this age group will go away on their own. Screening individuals under the age of 25 can lead to treatment which may not be necessary.
If you are under 25, you will have been offered the HPV vaccine at school. If you had the vaccine, then you will have a lower chance of having HPV. You will be invited for your cervical screening test when you are due at 25 – it is still important to attend even if you have had the vaccine, as it does not protect against all types of HPV.
Even if you did not have the HPV vaccine, you still do not need a cervical screening test until the age of 25.
If you are having any symptoms, such as irregular bleeding, discharge or pain during sex, it is important that you see your GP.
Your invitation for screening usually arrives a couple of months before your 25th birthday. You can go for screening straight away – you don’t need to wait for your 25th birthday if you have had your invitation letter.