Cervical screening (Smear Tests) is a method of preventing cervical cancer by detecting abnormal cells in the cervix (lower part of the womb). Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, but it is a test to check the health of the cervix.
Most women's test results show that everything is normal. But for one in 20 women, the test will show some changes in the cells of the cervix. Most of these changes will not lead to cervical cancer and the cells will go back to normal on their own. In some cases, the abnormal cells need to be treated to prevent them becoming a problem later.
NHS Choices - Cervical Screening - The why, when & how guide to cervical screening
Cervical Screening - This factsheet is for women who would like information about having a cervical smear test for screening. This means having the test when you don't have any symptoms.