Q. I’ve been invited for a smear test – should I go?

A. Yes. The cervical screening test (known as a smear test) is a method of detecting at risk cells on the cervix - the entrance to the womb from the vagina.

Detecting those people at higher risk prevents cervical cancer.

Women aged 25 to 64 who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for cervical screening.

This includes women who have had the HPV vaccination, as the vaccine doesn't guarantee complete protection against cervical cancer.

Those eligible will receive a letter inviting them to make an appointment, along with further information about cervical screening.

The letters should be sent out to women:

• aged 25 to 49 – every three years

• aged 50 to 64 – every five years

• over 65 – only women who haven't been screened since age 50 or those who have recently had abnormal tests

Women under 25 could be invited up to six months before their 25th birthday. You can book your screening appointment as soon as you get the invitation.

If you haven't had a cervical screening test within the appropriate time, you may be offered one when you next visit your GP or family planning clinic.

You can also contact your GP practice to book a screening appointment if you're overdue one.

Results usually come back within two weeks of the test.

Its important your GP has your correct name and address, and they know of any changes so you can be contacted when you're due to have a screening test.