Screening Tests for Young Adults

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Not everyone in this age group may need screening for every condition listed here. Click on the links above to read more about each condition and to determine if screening may be appropriate for you or your family member. You should discuss screening options with your health care practitioner.

Cervical cancer

A cervical screening programme is established in the UK whereby all women between the ages of 25 and 64 are eligible for a free liquid based cytology (LBC) test every three to five years, depending on age.

Women under the age of 25 are not routinely screened because cervical cancer is rare in this age group, although minor cell changes are common. The cervix is still developing in teenagers, which means young women may get an abnormal LBC result even when there is nothing wrong.

Treating mild abnormalities treated in women under 25 could prevent cancers from developing many years later. However, these early changes would be detectable on screening at age 25 allowing treatment at this stage. There is no evidence that earlier screening or treatment prevents cancer, and waiting until a woman is 25 years old provides a more reliable result. This approach prevents young women undergoing unnecessary investigation and treatment.

Any woman under 25 who is concerned about her risk of developing cervical cancer or her sexual health generally, should contact her GP or Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinic.