Public reminded not to skip smear tests ahead of Cervical Screening Awareness Week

It's believed that one in four people don't attend their appointments.

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 20th June 2022

This week is Cervical Screening Awareness Week, and people are being urged to get booked in for their routine smear tests.

Cervical screening is a way to detect any abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix, and is used to prevent cancer of the cervix.

But while the test itself takes only minutes, it’s believed that one in four people don’t attend their appointments.

According to research by charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, there are a number of barriers that prevent people following through with appointments.

These include embarrassment, convenience, fear of results, and pain, among others.


Anyone with a cervix – this includes women, trans men and people assigned female at birth – should receive regular testing between the ages of 25 and 64.

Tests normally take place every three-to-five years and you should receive a reminder letter.


Macmillian, a cancer support charity, has answered some common questions that crop up around the subject of cervical screening.

They stress that a smear test shouldn’t hurt, but can be uncomfortable – you should always tell your GP or nurse if you have any concerns.

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Macmillan also says that it can help to wear loose, comfortable clothing that you can remove easily (though you only need to remove items on your lower half).

You can see their full guidance around cervical screening and smear tests here.

Jo’s Trust will also be posting daily blogs and tips to answer questions and raise awareness for cervical screening.

That includes pain, work commitments, trauma, disabilities, and what actually happens next.

You can see that here.

Featured image: Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust