FAQ’s about the Cervical Screening Test
When should I start having the Cervical Screening Test ?
The National Cervical Screening Program recommends that all women who have ever been sexually active should first start having their Cervical Screening Test from the age of 25 years.
How effective is the Cervical Screening Test?
Regular Cervical Screening Tests every five years can help prevent the vast majority ( over 90 percent) of the most common types of cervical cancer.
How often should I have a Cervical Screening Test ?
All women over 25 years of age who have ever had sex are advised to have Cervical Screening every five years, even if they no longer have sex.
As the most common type of cervical cancer usually takes up to 10 years to develop, there is little advantage in having the Cervical Screening Test more frequently than every five years.
Your general practitioner may recommend more frequent Cervical Screening if a previous test was abnormal or you experience problems, such as abnormal vaginal bleeding or pain after sex .
I’ve been through menopause; do I still need to have the Cervical Screening Test ?
Yes, the risk of getting cervical cancer is the same even after menopause so it is important to keep having Cervical Screening Tests every five years, even after menopause.
When should I stop having Cervical Screening Tests ?
If you are 74 years or over and have had a recent normal Cervical Screening Test within the last five years, you do not have to keep having Cervical Screening Tests , unless you wish to do so.
When should I have my Cervical Screening Test ?
To help ensure an optimal specimen is obtained, it is preferable to avoid having the test taking during menstruation (mid cycle is preferable), if obvious vaginal infection is present or within 24 hours of use of vaginal creams or pessaries.