Cancer Screening

Cervical smear

Cervical screening (a smear test) checks the health of your cervix (the opening to your womb from your vagina).

All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 are invited.

You will have your smear done at our practice, usually by one of our practice nurses. See the section below to find out what happens at the appointment!


If you have any symptoms of unusual bleeding or pain, please make an appointment with your doctor.

What happens at your smear appointment?

A smear test involves taking a small sample of cells from your cervix for testing. The test itself should take less than 5 minutes. The whole appointment should take about 10 minutes.

Please do not book a smear appointment if you are on your period/bleeding - this invalidates the results.


  1. You'll need to undress, behind a screen, from the waist down. You'll be given a sheet to put over you.
  2. The nurse will ask you to lie back on a bed, usually with your legs bent, feet together and knees apart. Sometimes you may need to change position during the test.
  3. The nurse will gently put a smooth, tube-shaped plastic tool (called a speculum) into your vagina. A small amount of lubricant may be used to help make this more comfortable.
  4. The nurse will then open the speculum so they can see your cervix.
  5. Using a soft brush, they'll take a small sample of cells from your cervix.
  6. The nurse will close and remove the speculum and leave you to get dressed. 
  7. The sample will be sent off to the labs in Derby.

And that's it!


You may have some light bleeding for a day after the test, so it can help to wear a sanitary pad or panty-liner.

Your cervical screening results should arrive by post within 6 weeks. The letter will include detailed results, as well as any follow up, if there is any abnormality. If you need any further tests, you will be automatically referred to the hospital by the Cervical Screening Service.

Cervical smear results - what do they mean?

The smear sample will first be tested for HPV (Human Papillomavirus). If HPV is found, your sample will also be looked at for abnormal cells. Looking for abnormal cells is called ‘cytology’.


If you don’t have HPV, then it is extremely unlikely that you will have any abnormal cervical cells - your test will be normal and you will be automatically recalled in 3-5 years depending on your age.


If there is any abnormality, you will be advised to have a repeat smear test 1 year later, or may need to be referred to the hospital - don't worry, you won't need to do anything - you will be automatically recalled or referred to the hospital by the Cervical Screening Service.

Breast cancer screening - mammogram

Breast screening is offered to women aged 50 to their 71st birthday.

You'll first be invited for screening between the ages of 50 and 53.


If you're 71 or over, you'll stop receiving screening invitations. But you can still ask to have breast screening.


If you have any symptoms of a breast lump, nipple or skin changes, please make an appointment with your doctor.

Prostate cancer - PSA

There is no screening programme for prostate cancer.

More information about having the PSA blood test, if you have no symptoms, can be found here: PSA Testing.pdf


If you have any symptoms such as incontiennce, frequent urination, need to urinate at night, weak urine stream, blood in urine, please make an appointment with your doctor.

Bowel cancer screening

This is a poo sample test that checks for microscopic blood. if abnormal, you will automatically be referred for further assessment.

NHS will invite those aged 60 or over, to take part in screening every two years until the age of 75.


If you have any symptoms of change of bowel habit, bleeding from the back passage, or unitentional weight loss, please make an appointment with your doctor.