Consultation on Cervical Screening
The UK National Screening Committee is currently undertaking a consultation on two areas of the cervical screening programme. These areas are:
- The age at which screening should start
- How often screening should be offered for women aged 50-64 years
If you would like to read this consultation document it can be found on the NSC site at: http://www.screening.nhs.uk/cervicalcancer. There is also information here on how you may comment on the proposals.
The consultation closes on 9th August 2012.
About Cervical Screening Wales
Cervical Screening Wales is responsible for the NHS cervical screening programme in Wales, including sending invitations automatically. We get your details from your doctor’s list, so it is important that your doctor always has your correct name and address. If you have chosen to have a smear taken privately in the past, you are still entitled to have an NHS smear, and so you would still receive an invitation when your NHS smear was due.
Aims of the Cervical Screening Programme
The aim of the cervical screening programme is to reduce the incidence of, and morbidity and mortality from, invasive cervical cancer. However, screening also has the potential to cause both physical and psychological harm to women invited. It is essential that this harm is minimised, so that the benefits of screening outweigh the costs. A balance must be struck between maximising effectiveness and minimising harm.
The Eligible Population
The target age group for cervical screening is women aged 20 to 64.
Key messages for women
- Cervical screening is not a test for cancer. It detects possible abnormalities, or changes in the cells, which may develop into cancer if they are not treated.
- Almost all abnormalities are successfully treated.
- The examination of cervical smears is a highly skilled process. Like most medical tests it is not 100% accurate. However, having a regular smear test means that an abnormality is less likely to remain undetected.
- Most results are normal - no abnormal cells were found. No further investigations are needed but you should continue to attend for routine smear tests when invited.
- A normal result means that no abnormality was detected at that time but is not a guarantee that no abnormalities exist.
- If you ever have irregular or unusual bleeding or discharge tell your GP, even if you have had a recent negative smear test.