Research indicates that all sexually active females between the ages of 20 and 70 should have a cervical smear test. A year after the first smear women should have another and thereafter every three years. This test detects abnormal cells which, if left untreated, could become cervical cancer. Very often these cells are made abnormal by a human papillomavirus (HPV) which is passed on by men during intercourse. Regular tests and treatment reduces the likelihood of this sort of cancer by around 90%. The age of screening will be changed in response to the protection offered by the HPV Vaccine - Gardasil, to start at the age of 25.
For more information about cervical smear tests click on the link to the National Screening Unit website: