Smear tests (PAP check)

Regular smear tests are essential for every sexually active woman (gay or straight) to help prevent cervical cancer.

Our routine tests also report on the presence and activity of the most relevant strains of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the cause of 70% cervical cancers, thus making our test more sensitive than the routine check available in the NHS.

We can provide the cervical cancer vaccine for women of any age who are single.

We normally start cervical smear tests within a year of starting to have sex. Minor changes on smear tests can reverse spontaneously for women under 25 years, but they still need to be monitored more closely, repeating the test every 6 months.

The same is true for those who are HPV positive. Colposcopy (a special examination of the cervix performed when a smear is persistently or severely abnormal) and treatment of smear abnormalities can be arranged with a colleague at the Portland Hospital as required.

We prefer to repeat routine smear tests annually for sexually active women, but they are needed less often after the menopause.