What is cervical screening?
Cervical screening is a check-up involving a smear test to see if there are early changes in the cells of the cervix. Some of these changes are known as precancerous because they might become cancer cells if not found and treated. These early changes have no symptoms, so you may be unaware of them.
The earlier a change is found, the easier it is to treat. For most women the test results show that everything is fine, but for 1 in 40/50 there may be changes that need to be checked again or treated.
The smear test itself takes about 5 minutes. You lie back with your knees drawn up and spread apart. The doctor or nurse gently puts an instrument called a speculum into your vagina, which is then opened to show your cervix. Next some cells are gently removed from the surface of your cervix using a small brush. These cells are then put in a liquid and sent to the laboratory to check for any abnormal changes.
221+ Patient Support Group thanks the Irish Cancer Society for permission to use the text of their booklet Cervical Cancer, What You Should Know
and acknowledges the contribution of the original authors of the booklet.