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Cervical screening campaign

Cervical screening (smear test)

Cervical cancer is a cancer that’s found anywhere in the cervix. Anyone with a cervix can get cervical cancer, but it mostly affects women under the age of 45. Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by an infection from certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). It can often be prevented by attending cervical screening (smear test), which aims to find and treat changes to cells before they turn into cancer.

The Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Integrated Care Board (ICB) has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of cervical screening. The campaign explains what happens during a screening appointment and why it is so important.

Who should have a cervical screening?

All women and people with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 64 should go for regular cervical screening. You’ll get a letter in the post inviting you to make an appointment. Most cervical screening is done in a GP surgery by a female nurse or doctor.

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

If you missed your last cervical screening, you do not need to wait for a letter to book an appointment.

Find out more here.

What happens during cervical screening?

During cervical screening a small sample of cells is taken from your cervix for testing.
It is usually done by a female nurse or doctor and before starting they should explain what will happen during the test and answer any questions you have.

The cervical screening test itself should take less than 5 minutes. The whole appointment should take about 10 minutes.

You are in control of the cervical screening test and can ask the nurse or doctor to stop at any time.

How cervical screening is done:

  1. You’ll need to undress, behind a screen, from the waist down. You’ll be given a sheet to put over you.
  2. 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.
  3. They’ll gently put a smooth, tube-shaped tool (a speculum) into your vagina. A small amount of lubricant may be used.
  4. The nurse will open the speculum so they can see your cervix.
  5. Using a soft brush, they’ll take a small sample of cells from your cervix.
  6. The nurse will close and remove the speculum and leave you to get dressed.

Find out more here.

Symptoms of cervical cancer

Symptoms of cervical cancer include:

  • vaginal bleeding that’s unusual for you – including bleeding during or after sex, between your periods or after the menopause, or having heavier periods than usual,
  • changes to your vaginal discharge,
  • pain during sex,
  • pain in your lower back, between your hip bones (pelvis), or in your lower tummy.

If you have another condition like fibroids or endometriosis, you may get symptoms like these regularly.

It’s important to be checked by a GP if your symptoms change, get worse, or do not feel normal for you.

To learn more about cervical screening and how to book an appointment, please click here for more information

If you have any questions about this toolkit or require more information, please email: [email protected]