A cervical screening test (previously known as a smear test) is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix. The cervix is the entrance to the womb from the vagina. Detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells can prevent cervical cancer.
Cervical screening is offered to women aged 25 to 64 in England because of the benefits of screening, including finding abnormal cells early so they can be treated quickly. Women who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for cervical screening.
This includes women who have had the HPV vaccination, as the vaccine doesn't protect against all types of HPV linked to cervical cancer so it doesn't guarantee complete protection against cervical cancer.
Breast Cancer Screening
About 1 in 8 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. If it's detected early, treatment is more successful and there's a good chance of recovery.
Breast screening aims to find breast cancers early. It uses an X-ray test called a mammogram that can spot cancers when they're too small to see or feel.
As the likelihood of getting breast cancer increases with age, all women aged 50 to 70 and registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast cancer screening every 3 years.
Bowel Cancer Screening
Bowel cancer is a common type of cancer in both men and women. About 1 in 20 people will get it during their lifetime.
Screening can help detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when it's easier to treat. It can also be used to help check for and remove small growths in the bowel called polyps which can turn into cancer over time. All men and women aged 60 to 74 who are registered with a GP in England are automatically sent a bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years.
Make sure your GP has the correct address so your kit is posted to the right place. If you're 75 or over, you can ask for a kit every 2 years by phoning the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.