#Human Rights
UK Government
United Kingdom

Cervical smear test is used to look for changes in cervical cells and to identify whether further investigation is required. Depending on the degree of abnormality identified, women are asked to have a repeat smear after six or 12 months, or may be referred for a further test to identify the cause of the abnormality identified by screening.

Under the NHS Cervical Screening Program, all women between the ages of 25 and 49 are eligible for a free cervical smear test every three years, and women between the ages of 50 and 64 are eligible for a free test every five years.

The smear test is not routinely available to women aged under 25. Cervical cancer is rare in women under the age of 20; teenagers’ bodies, particularly the cervix, are still developing, which means young women may get an abnormal smear result when there is nothing wrong. This could lead to unnecessary treatment, so screening young women might do more harm than good.

Between the ages of 20 and 25, invasive cancer is still rare but changes in the cervix are common. Although treating lesions in very young women may prevent cancers from developing many years later, the evidence suggests that screening is best started at the age of 25. Lesions that are destined to progress will still be screen-detectable and those that would regress will no longer be a source of anxiety. This means that younger women will not have to undergo unnecessary investigations and treatments.

Any woman under 25 who is concerned about her risk of developing cervical cancer, or her sexual health generally, should contact her GP or Genito-Urinary

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to instruct the Department for Health to rescind guidelines which state that women under 25 should not be given cervical smears.

The Cervical Smear Campaign to test under 25 women if requested petition to UK Government was written by Healing World Network and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.