What is the age when you get a Smear Test in the UK?

smear test
smear test

What is the age when you get a Smear Test in the UK?

A Smear Test (also known as a Cervical Screening) is an important test to assess the health of the cervix to help prevent cervical cancer. It’s offered to women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64. It is one of the most crucial preventative tests for protecting and ensuring women’s health. A smear test is not a test for cancer but rather a test to help prevent cancer. 

The cervix is the opening of the womb from a vagina. During a smear test, a small sample of cells is taken from the cervix to be tested for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). The cells that they are looking for are classed as “high-risk” types of HPV. These can change the surrounding cells of the cervix. 

NHS Smear Tests are offered routinely to all women and people with a cervix by letter in the post. Depending on your age, you will receive these letters inviting you to make an appointment at different frequencies. You can and should book an appointment as soon as a letter is received. 

Below is a table showing the frequency of when invitations to book appointments are sent out. They correspond with how high the risk is for cervical cancer. 

AgeWhen they are invited
Under 25Up to 6 months before turning 25
25-49Every 3 years
50-64Every 5 years
65 and older Only if a recent test was abnormal

Wendy Clarke’s Smear Test Story

If you have missed a smear test, there is no need to wait for a new letter to book an appointment. Getting in touch with the NHS and booking an appointment can save lives. (All information sourced from the NHS)

The importance of attending regular smear tests is championed by the campaigner Wendy Clarke, a 46-year-old from Stockton, County Durham. She was given the tragic news that she had terminal cervical cancer. 

Wendy had attended smear tests in the past after having children but she became fearful and embarrassed of having more.

She told the BBC: “there’s a very high probability that if I had gone and got my test done I wouldn’t be in the situation that I am now.” She now campaigns to encourage smear test attendance and is bravely facing her diagnosis. 

Image taken from BBC News

Wendy also told the BBC “It is the most personal and private part of your body – and it was not wanting to share that with somebody, a total stranger if you like. I felt violated.” These are common feelings among women and are some of the most common reasons smear test appointments are missed. Wendy hopes that her story motivates women to relaise that although the procedure is uncomfortable and evasive, the results from catching cervical cancer before it becomes a major concern are life-saving. 

Read more about Wendy’s story here.

We at HapiLegs are committed to helping more women attend their smear test appointments. If you are interested in seeing our privacy-protecting HapiLegs, click here.

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
    Go to top