Cervical Cytology

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Also known as: Cervical screening test; Liquid based cytology test (LBC)
Formal name: Smear Test; PAP Test; Papanicolaou smear; cervical/vaginal cytology

At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

To screen for early abnormalities (pre-cancer) which, if left untreated, could lead to cervical cancer.

When to Get Tested?

In England, all woman between the ages of 25 and 64 are eligible for a free cervical screening test every three to five years, depending on age.
In Wales those between 20 and 64 are eligible for screening at 3 yearly intervals.
In Scotland those between 20 and 60 are eligible for screening 3 at yearly intervals.
In Northern Ireland those between 20 and 64 are eligible for screening at 5 yearly intervals.
In the Republic of Ireland those between 25 and 44 are eligible for screening at 3 yearly intervals and those between 45 and 60 at 5 yearly intervals.

Sample Required?

Cells from the cervix (neck of the womb)

Test Preparation Needed?

You may be asked to refrain from sexual intercourse for 24-48 hours before the test, avoid using vaginal creams or foams in the 48 hours before the test and book the test appointment 10-14 days after the beginning of your last menstrual period.