What Is A Cervical Screen?
Cervical screening was previously known as a smear test and is the method of detecting abnormal cells in the cervix. The cervix is the entrance to the womb from the vagina. Screening is designed to detect abnormal cells meaning they can be removed. It’s recommended that women aged between 25 and 64 have regular screening carried out. The detection and removal of abnormal cells helps to prevent cervical cancer from occurring.
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Why Is Cervical Screening Offered?
Cervical screening is offered as it can help to detect any abnormal cell changes in regards to the cervix. Most abnormal cells that are discovered often return to normal on their own and, so waiting and rescreening is often recommended. If a large number of abnormal cells are discovered then treatment to remove them is usually the recommended way to deal with the cells. Having the cells removed at an early stage can help to prevent them from developing into cancerous cells.
Meaning there is a reduced chance of developing cervical cancer. It’s estimated that since the introduction of screening programme it’s estimated that around 5000 cervical cancer cases are prevented each year. However cervical screening isn’t designed to solely detect cancer, it was developed to check the health of the cells of the cervix.
Are Cervical Screens The Same As Smear Tests
Yes! Cervical screening was previously known as a smear test. The term cervical screening is now used as it offers a more accurate terminology into what the test/screening is required for. Screening is designed to ensure that the cells in your cervix are healthy.
When Is Cervical Screening Offered?
Cervical screening is commonly carried out in people who are aged 25-64. This includes women who have had the HPV vaccination, as it doesn’t guarantee complete protection against cervical cancer. Screening isn’t usually carried out in women under the age of 25 as it’s much more rare for people of that age to develop cervical cancer. Depending on the age of the woman, screening should be carried out at different intervals this includes:
- Aged Between 25 & 49 – Every three years
- Aged Between 50 & 64 – Every five years
- Over 65 Years Of Age – Only women who haven’t been screened since the age of 50 or who’ve recently had abnormal test
Why Aren’t Women Under 25 Screened?
Women under the age of 25 aren’t routinely screened as it isn’t recommended by the NHS Cervical Screening Programme. This is because normal developmental cell changes that happen in women under the age of 25 look very similar to those of abnormal cells.
It’s also very rare for women under the age of 25 to develop cervical cancer. Any woman under the age of 25 who thinks they are at risk of developing cervical cancer are advised to book an appointment with their GP.