About the Cervical Screening Test

A Cervical Screening Test every five years could save your life. Learn more about the test and how you can reduce your risk of cervical cancer.

About the Cervical Screening Test

Jump to information about:

What is the Cervical Screening Test?

The Cervical Screening Test is a quick and simple procedure that looks for an infection called human papillomavirus (HPV).

The test is performed by a doctor or nurse. You also have the option to collect your own sample for a Cervical Screening Test. This is called self-collection.

Learn more about self-collection and talk to your doctor or nurse if you are interested in this option.

Why is it important?

Almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV infection that does not clear up.[1] 

Most women with an HPV infection will not have symptoms. If an HPV infection does not clear up it can cause cells in the cervix to change. In rare cases, these cell changes can develop into cervical cancer— usually over a period of 10 to 15 years.

If you are aged between 25-74, have a cervix and have ever been sexually active, getting the Cervical Screening Test every five years protects against cervical cancer.

More than 70% of cervical cancers occurred in women who have never been screened or are not up-to-date with their cervical screening.[2] 

Key facts about the test

For all women
aged 25 - 74

Simple and quick

Have the test every
five years

Expected to reduce
cervical cancer rates
and deaths by 30%.1

How does screening prevent cervical cancer?

Regular cervical screening prevents cervical cancer by detecting HPV. If HPV is found, the test looks for any cell changes in the cervix.

Almost all cervical cancer is caused by persistent HPV infection that goes undetected.1

Regular cervical screening identifies women and people with a cervix who have HPV and are at an increased risk of developing cervical cancer. These women can be monitored and have further tests and treatment, if necessary.

In the small number of cases where cervical cancer is detected, early diagnosis through screening greatly improves the chances of treatment being successful.

A young woman at the doctor's speaking about cervical screening

By working together, we aim to eliminate cervical cancer by the 2030s.