Speaking from experience

Let’s talk about cervical screening - or the 'smear test' - and listen to people who have recently been through the experience to hear their thoughts about what it was really like for them.

 Find more information on how you can book your cervical screening
Let's talk about what actually happens.

Cervical screening only takes a few minutes:1

1. You’ll have a private space to undress from the waist down, usually behind a curtain. If you are wearing a dress or loose clothing, you can leave on and just take off your underwear.

2. You’ll be asked to lie down on an examination bed and given a paper sheet to cover the lower half of your body. You can either lie on your back or on your left side.

3. A speculum, usually a cylinder with a round end, is gently inserted into your vagina. This might feel a little uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be painful; if it is tell the person taking the test.

4. Once inside your vagina, the speculum will be slowly opened so your cervix can be seen.

5. A sample of cells will be taken from your cervix using a small, soft brush. This may feel a bit strange, but should not be painful.

6. The brush and speculum will be removed from your vagina, you’ll be given a private space to get dressed again, and the next steps about receiving your results will be explained to you.

That’s it!

For further information and resources



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1. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. What happens at cervical screening? Available at: https://www.jostrust.org.uk/information/cervical-screening/what-happens-during-cervical-screening Last accessed: October 2022