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If you are aged 65 or over, you will no longer be invited for cervical screening (a smear test) unless you are being followed up for cell changes (abnormal cells). You may feel worried or anxious about this, but it is because the benefits of cervical screening start to become less as we get older.
Cervical cancer usually develops very slowly. In fact, it’s estimated that it takes between 10 and 20 years for a high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection to develop into cell changes and then into cervical cancer. Because it develops so slowly, it is very unlikely you will develop cervical cancer if you are 65 and have gone for cervical screening when invited:
If you are 65 or older and have never had cervical screening, you are entitled to a test. If you want, you can book an appointment with your GP surgery.
It is important to be aware of the symptoms of cervical cancer, including:
All of these symptoms can be things other than cervical cancer, but if you have any, see your doctor or nurse and get them checked out.
You may feel worried about not having to go for cervical screening anymore or like the healthcare system has abandoned you. Remember that this is not the case and we are still here for you. If you want to chat things through, call our Helpline on 0808 802 8000.