Cervical screening is a method of preventing cancer by detecting and treating abnormalities that could lead to cancer in a woman's
cervix (the neck of the womb).
If you are under 25 years of age, there is usually no need to have a cervical screening test. This is because it is very rare for women under this age to develop cancer of the
cervix. As young women's bodies, particularly those aged under 20, are still developing, and changes in the
cervix are common, a
smear test may give an abnormal result when, in fact, nothing is wrong. Therefore, clinical evidence suggests that cervical screening should start when a woman reaches 25 years of age.
If you are a woman who has never been sexually active, the risk of developing cervical cancer is very low. You may therefore decide not to have a cervical screening test. However, if you are not currently sexually active but have been in the past, you should continue to have cervical screening tests, regardless of your sexuality. Heterosexual women and lesbians are at risk of developing cancer of the
If you have had your womb and
cervix surgically removed (a total
hysterectomy), you do not need to have a cervical screening test. This includes trans men (transsexuals who have changed their sex from female to male) who have undergone total hysterectomies. However, if you are a trans man who has not had a total
hysterectomy, you should continue to have cervical screening tests because you could still be at risk of developing cancer of the
cervix. Trans women (transsexuals who have changed their sex from male to female) may find that they receive an invitation for cervical screening due to changes in medical records, but this can be ignored.
If you have not had a cervical screening test recently, you may be offered one when you see your doctor or family planning clinic about another matter. You should receive your first invitation for routine screening just before you are 25. However, you need to ensure that your doctor has your correct name and address details.
If you are under 25 years of age, and you are concerned about the risk of developing cervical cancer, or about any other areas of your sexual health, you should visit your doctor or local STD clinic.
NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice,
diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your
physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere.
If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.