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.
When you'll be invited for cervical screening
|Age||When you're invited|
|under 25||up to 6 months before you turn 25|
|25 to 49||every 3 years|
|50 to 64||every 5 years|
|65 or older||only if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal|
You can book an appointment as soon as you get a letter.
If you missed your last cervical screening, you do not need to wait for a letter to book an appointment.
When cervical screening is not recommended
If you're under 25
You will not be invited for cervical screening until you're 25 because:
- cervical cancer is very rare in people under 25
- it might lead to having treatment you do not need – abnormal cell changes often go back to normal in younger women
If you're 65 or older
You'll usually stop being invited for screening once you turn 65. This is because it's very unlikely that you'll get cervical cancer.
You'll only be invited again if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal.
If you're 65 or older and have never been for cervical screening, or have not had cervical screening since the age of 50, you can ask your GP for a test.
If you have had a total hysterectomy
You will not need to go for cervical screening if you have had a total hysterectomy to remove all of your womb and cervix.
You should not receive any more screening invitation letters.
Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:
You're worried about symptoms of cervical cancer such as:
- bleeding between periods, during or after sex, or after you have been through the menopause
- unusual vaginal discharge
Do not wait for your next cervical screening appointment.
Page last reviewed: 31 March 2020
Next review due: 31 March 2023