Cervical smears are a screening test used to check the health of your cervix. It is not a test for cancer, it is a test that helps prevent cancer. It is a quick procedure performed by an experienced nurse here at the surgery, where they use a swab to take a small sample of cells from your cervix and send it off for testing.
The sample is checked for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause changes to the cells of your cervix. If these types of HPV are not found, you do not need any further tests. If these types of HPV are found, the sample is then checked for any changes in the cells of your cervix. These can then be treated before they get the chance to turn into cervical cancer. You will get your results by letter, usually in about 2 weeks. It will explain what happens next.
Screening will start for those with a cervix from the age of 24, and will continue every 3 years until they reach 49. It will then take place every 5 years.
More information on cervical smears can be found on the NHS website.