Cervical Screening: An Essential Guide


Cervical screening is a vital preventive measure that can help detect early changes in the cervix that may lead to cancer. Regular screenings significantly reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer by identifying abnormal cells early, when they can be treated effectively. In this blog, we’ll cover what cervical screening entails, when to get tested, how to prepare, and what to expect during a cervical screening.


When to Go for a Test

The timing and frequency of cervical cancer screenings depend on your age and health history:

  • Ages 21-29: A screening every three years.
  • Ages 30-65: Co-testing with a screening and HPV test every five years, or a screening alone every three years.
  • Over 65: Screening may be discontinued if you have had regular screenings with normal results for the past 10 years and no history of cervical precancer.

However, individual recommendations may vary based on your medical history, so it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider.


How to Prepare for Your Screening

To ensure the most accurate results, follow these preparation tips before your cervical cancer screening:

Schedule Appropriately

Avoid scheduling your test during your menstrual period. The best time is at least five days after your period ends.

Avoid Interference

 For 48 hours before the test, do not have sexual intercourse, use tampons, vaginal creams, suppositories, medications, or douche.

Inform your Provider

Let your healthcare provider know if you are pregnant, have any health conditions, or have had any abnormal test results in the past.


What to Expect During a Cervical Screening

Understanding the procedure can help alleviate any anxiety about the test. Here’s what you can expect during a cervical screening:

Arrival and Preparation

  • You will be asked to undress from the waist down and will be provided with a gown or drape for modesty.
  • You’ll lie on an exam table with your feet placed in stirrups.

Speculum Insertion

  • The healthcare provider will gently insert a speculum into your vagina. This device helps to hold the vaginal walls open for a clear view of the cervix.

Cell Collection

  • Using a small brush or spatula, the provider will collect cells from your cervix. You might feel slight discomfort or pressure, but it should not be painful.


  • The speculum is removed, and you can get dressed. The entire procedure usually takes just a few minutes.

After the Test

  • Some light spotting may occur after the test, which is normal.
  • Your healthcare provider will inform you when to expect your test results and discuss the next steps if any abnormalities are found.


Regular cervical screenings are a critical component of women’s health. By understanding the types of tests, when to get screened, how to prepare, and what to expect during the procedure, you can take proactive steps to protect your health. Always consult your healthcare provider for personalised advice and follow their recommendations for screenings and follow-ups. Early detection through regular screenings can make a significant difference in preventing and treating cervical cancer effectively.



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