Cervical Screening in the UK

Abnormal cell changes in the neck of the womb (cervix) could lead to cancer if left untreated. Cervical screening helps finding those changes while we can still treat them.

The NHS cervical screening programme invites women from ages 25 to 64 for cervical screening every 3 (up to age 49) or 5 years (50 to 64).

Since cervical screening started in the 1980s in Great Britain, rates of cervical cancer have almost halved.

Research shows that screening prevents at least 2,000 cervical cancer deaths each year.


lower risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 5 years following the test, compared to women who haven't been screened

Women screened between the ages of 35 to 64 are thought to have

Yet, 28% of UK women did not attend their cervical screening invitation in 2016/17.

Percentage of women who respond to NHS cervical screening invitations


Ages 25–49

Ages 50–65

In aid of:

Cancer Research UK is a registered charity in England and Wales (1089464), Scotland (SC041666) and the Isle of Man (1103). A company limited by guarantee. Registered company in England and Wales (4325234) and the Isle of Man (5713F). Registered address: Angel Building, 407 St John Street, London EC1V 4AD.

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