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Cervical Screening Facts

What is a smear test?

What will happen during a smear test?

  • You will be asked to undress from the waist down and lie down on a couch.
  • The doctor or nurse will gently put a small instrument, called a speculum, into your vagina to hold it open.
  • The doctor or nurse will then take a sample by using a small brush to pick up cells from the surface of your cervix, which are then placed in a small bottle before being sent to the laboratory for testing.
  • The test should not be painful although some women may find it slightly uncomfortable.

Why have a smear test?

  • Smear tests are a quick and simple way for women with no symptoms to prevent cancer by finding and treating changes in the cervix early.
  • Most cases of cervical cancer can be prevented if women go for regular smear tests.
  • It puts your mind at rest so you can get on with life.
  • It is free and confidential.



When is my smear test due?

What about the results?

Signs and symptoms of cervical cancer

  • Abnormal bleeding after sex or in between periods.
  • Pain in and around your vagina when having sex.
  • An unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge.
  • Pain when going for a wee.

Risk factors that may increase the chances of cervical cancer

  • Smoking.
  • Having sex for the first time at an early age.
  • Having had several sexual partners or having had a sexual partner who has had several other partners.
  • Taking immunosuppressant drugs (for example, after an organ transplant).











If you have any concerns about the smear test or your results you can talk it over with your doctor or nurse.