Women and people with a cervix aged 25-64 are screened every five years.
If you are 65 or over and have never had a cervical screening (smear) test, then you can ask to have one.
People who are transgender or non-binary may be invited for cervical screening. For more information read our information for people who are transgender and non-binary.
It is important that you speak to your doctor if you notice any symptoms. Do not wait for your cervical screening appointment.
Cervical Screening Wales is responsible for the NHS cervical screening programme in Wales, including sending invitations. We get your contact details from your doctor's list, so it is important that your doctor has your correct name and address.
Cervical Screening Wales will send you a letter in the post to book an appointment.
If you are not registered with a doctor, contact us to check if you can have cervical screening. Let us know if you are moving, as you will need to complete a change of address form.
Some people may be invited for screening who do not need it. Contact us to let us know so we can stop sending you invitations.
If you are transgender or non-binary and are registered with your doctor as male and have a cervix, you will not be invited but it is important that you are screened. Contact us or your doctor, so you can be invited.
Are there any exceptions?
If you, or a person you support needs help to understand or read the information sent, please contact us. We can provide you with information in different formats. For more information you may want to visit our Easy Read, BSL, Audio and Video pages.
If you, or a person you support needs extra help going for screening, contact your doctor's surgery or clinic before your appointment if you:
If you think you are eligible for help travelling to your appointment, you can contact Patient Transport Services at your local hospital. They may be able to help you.
As the cost of living is affecting many of us, it is important to know what help is available from the NHS.
While financial support for attending routine screening appointments is not provided under the Department of Health rules, some people who need to come back for further tests may be eligible for financial support.
The NHS ‘Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme’ (HTCS) sets out clear guidance to people about when financial help can be provided. The scheme has a strict eligibility criteria. For those who are eligible, the scheme supports the cost of travelling to hospital or other NHS premises for NHS funded treatment or diagnostic tests.
You can have your cervical screening at your doctor's surgery. It may be possible to have it at a sexual health clinic. If you would like to be seen by a female nurse or doctor, you can ask when booking your appointment.
If you need to change your appointment, contact your doctor's surgery or sexual health clinic. Another appointment can be arranged.
Cervical screening appointments are limited. Let your doctor's surgery or sexual health clinic know if you are not planning to attend, so they can offer your appointment to someone else.
If you missed your cervical screening appointment, contact your doctor's surgery or sexual health clinic to arrange another appointment. It is important that you do not wait to be invited again.
If you do not want to be sent any future invitations, you can contact Cervical Screening Wales and we will send you an ‘opt out’ form.
If you decide to opt out of screening, you can choose to ‘opt in’ again at any time.
Before your appointment:
You cannot have a test during your period. Make sure you make an appointment before or after your period is due. It is useful to know the date of your last period (if you are still having them).
Some people may feel embarrassed especially if it is their first test. Let your sample taker know if you feel worried or anxious about having the test.
The test will be taken in a clinic room. Before the test is taken the sample taker will:
You will need to remove your underwear and get onto a couch. You will be asked to lie on your back, with your knees bent and your feet on the couch. Some clinics have special couches, which support your legs.
The sample taker will gently put a speculum (medical instrument) into your vagina. The speculum can be opened, so your cervix can be seen. They will then sweep a soft nylon brush over the cervix to take a sample of cells. The test will only take a few minutes.
Your cervix is the lower part of your womb (also called a 'uterus'). It is sometimes called the 'neck of the womb'. Your cervix connects with the top end of your vagina.
The sample will be put into a pot of fluid and the speculum will then be gently removed. The sample will be sent to the laboratory.
Some people may find the test uncomfortable. Tell the sample taker if you want to stop the test at any time. It is not unusual to have a small amount of bleeding afterwards.