Cervical Smears are offered to women in order to screen for cervical changes that can show if there are changes to the cervical cells which could potentially lead on to cancer.
The screening also often includes screening for the strains of Human Papilloma Virus that can also lead to the development of cancer if left untreated.
The NHS offer cervical screening from the age of 25 years up to 65 years of age. The frequency of screening will vary according to your age, risk factors and previous results.
Screening by private health care providers may commence screening at an earlier age if clinically indicated or requested.
Screening can be accessed through your GP, Sexual Health Clinics and Family Planning Clinics. Screening provided by these departments and specialists are free and confidential.
Cervical screening can also be done on a private basis by private GPs, Marie Stopes Clinics and through the Nuffield and BUPA Health Providers. Cost from these providers vary greatly and can be up to £165 or more as you are paying for the practitioner, test and the diagnostics.
Cervical screening would not be covered by private health care policies but if results from the screening indicated any concerns then if a GP makes a referral for Colposcopy and other investigations this may well be covered by a private health care policy depending on your terms.
If you do not have a private health care policy and the test results come back showing changes your GP should refer you to a Gynaecologist at your local NHS facility for further treatment and investigations.
Useful sites and telephone numbers for facilities for screening and information re tests are:
NHS - cervical screening test
NHS - sexual health services
In relation to obtaining an appointment with your GP or private GP we would recommend contacting facilities near to where you work or live for convenience. Information re private GPs can be found on the internet or telephone directory.
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