Women’s Health

Cervical Screening (Smear Tests)

Cervical screening is a method of preventing cervical cancer by detecting abnormal cells in the cervix (lower part of the womb). Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, but it is a test to check the health of the cervix.

Most women’s test results show that everything is normal. But for one in 20 women, the test will show some changes in the cells of the cervix. Most of these changes will not lead to cervical cancer and the cells will go back to normal on their own. In some cases, the abnormal cells need to be treated to prevent them becoming a problem later.

NHS Choices – Cervical Screening
The why, when & how guide to cervical screening

Cervical Screening
This factsheet is for women who would like information about having a cervical smear test for screening. This means having the test when you don’t have any symptoms.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. About 46,000 women get breast cancer in the UK each year. Most of them (8 out of 10) are over 50, but younger women, and in rare cases men, can also get breast cancer.

The NHS Breast Screening Programme invites over 2 million women for screening every year, and detects over 14,000 cancers. Dr Emma Pennery of Breast Cancer Care says: “Breast X-rays, called mammograms, can detect tumours at a very early stage, before you’d feel a lump. The earlier it’s treated, the higher the survival rate.”

Find out more about breast cancer screening

Macmillan Cancer Research The causes and symptoms of breast cancer in women and explains how it is diagnosed and treated

NHS Choices
Symtpoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention & screening information

See the NHS Choices Conditions and Treatments browser for an in-depth description of many common health issues.

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