Cervical screening is still running during the Covid-19 pandemic, with health leaders across north east London encouraging women and people with a cervix to attend screening if they receive an appointment invitation.
Cervical screening is a free health test that helps prevent cervical cancer. It checks for a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV) and, if you have HPV, cervical cell changes (abnormal cells).
Women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 49 are screened every three years, and those aged 50 to 64 every five years. People aged over 65 are only screened if one of their last three tests was abnormal. If you are due for cervical screening, you will receive an invitation to book an appointment.
Caroline Cook, screening programme lead for the North East London Cancer Alliance, said: “Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, it is a test to help prevent cancer. It is one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer and it helps saves 2,000 lives every year.
“You can request a female nurse or doctor. It may be a little uncomfortable but only takes a few minutes and could save your life. Anyone with concerns or questions should contact their GP practice.”
Safe from covid
GP practices and other screening providers have put increased infection control measures in place to ensure screening appointments continue. This includes the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the safety of patients and staff.
If you are self-isolating, you should not book an appointment until you have finished isolating. If you have concerns or are shielding, please contact your GP practice to discuss your situation.
For more information
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is the UK’s leading cervical cancer charity, providing information and support to anyone affected and campaigning for excellence in cervical cancer treatment, care and prevention. Its national Helpline is free, confidential and on 0808 802 8000.
For more information about smear tests, there is a short video to explain the facts, as well as Your Guide to Cervical screening. There is also useful advice for trans and non-binary people on attending smear testing. The No Barriers Cervical Screening Project provides a specialist service at 56 Dean Street for trans men and non-binary people.