There has been good news for cervical screening across Wales. Women aged 25-49 will only need to have a cervical smear every 5 years instead of 3 because of improvements in the accuracy of the test for cervical cancer.
- Previously, people with a cervix aged 25-49 were invited to cervical screening every 3 years and those aged 50-64 were invited every 5 years.
- the test used in cervical screening has changed. Previously, cells in the cervix would be tested for unusual changes and if found, would be tested for HPV which causes virtually all cervical cancers.
- In the new test, the cells are tested for HPV infection first. As having HPV infection causes abnormal cells, HPV primary testing detects more women at risk of developing cervical cancer. Because the new test is more accurate at finding those at risk of cervical cancer, screening intervals can safely be extended from three to five years.
- The new test allows women to be invited back for screening based on their risk of developing cervical cancer, rather than just their age.
- Overall this makes the programme more accurate, and means people don’t have to have extra rounds of screening that wouldn’t give them any benefit.
Further information about cervical screening can be found by watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjuEYqQvb0E.
Please also find the link to our tweet here, if you would like to share this information: https://twitter.com/CRUKCymru/status/1478754276856025094