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When you'll be invited for cervical screening

Who should have 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.

How often you are invited depends on your age.

When you'll be invited for cervical screening
Age When you're invited

Under 25

When you're invited

Up to 6 months before you turn 25


25 to 49

When you're invited

Every 3 years


50 to 64

When you're invited

Every 5 years


65 or older

When you're invited

Only if a recent test 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.

Find out how to book a cervical screening appointment


Screening in other parts of the UK

When you're invited for cervical screening is different in some other parts of the UK.

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 a recent test 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've 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've been through the menopause
  • unusual vaginal discharge

Do not wait for your next cervical screening appointment.

Page last reviewed: 14 June 2023
Next review due: 14 June 2026