Freephone information line: 1800 45 45 55

Should I have a smear test?

  1. I am not sexually active; do I need a smear test?
  2. I am a virgin, do I need a smear test?
  3. I have had a hysterectomy. Do I need a smear test?
  4. I have reached the menopause. Do I still need a smear test?
  5. I haven't been in a relationship in years. Do I need a smear test?
  6. I finished having my family years ago. Do I still need a smear test?
  7. Should women who have sex with women have a smear test?
  8. I am over 60, can I have a CervicalCheck smear test?
  9. I am under 25, why can I not have a CervicalCheck smear test?

I am not sexually active. Do I need a smear test?

CervicalCheck invites women on the Cervical Screening Register between the ages of 25 and 60 for cervical screening. However, if you have never been sexually active with a man or woman, then the research evidence shows that your chance of developing cervical cancer is low. This is not to say that there is no risk, only a very low risk. In these circumstances, you might choose to decline the invitation for cervical screening at this time. If you are not currently sexually active but have had partners in the past, then we recommend that you continue attending for smear tests.

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I am a virgin, do I need a smear test?

If you have never been sexually active, the risk of developing cervical cancer is considered to be low. If you do become sexually active, you should have smear tests.

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I have had a hysterectomy. Do I need a smear test?

If you have had a hysterectomy, you should check with your doctor to see if you need to continue having regular smear tests.

You may need to continue to have smear tests if:

  • You had a subtotal hysterectomy and still have a cervix
  • You had changes in your cells detected before surgery
  • Cell changes were found on the cervix at the time of surgery, or
  • The hysterectomy was for treating cervical abnormalities (cancer or pre-cancerous conditions).

If you have had a total hysterectomy (uterus and cervix removed) and do require screening (smear tests were not normal before surgery), smear tests will be taken from the top of the vagina instead. These are called vault smears.

Screening can stop if your smear test results were normal before surgery and the hysterectomy was for a benign (non-cancerous) condition such as fibroids or heavy bleeding.

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I have reached the menopause. Do I still need a smear test?

Yes. Women aged 25 to 60 should have a regular smear test - including women who have reached the menopause.

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I haven't been in a relationship in years. Do I need a smear test?

If you have ever been sexually active and are aged between 25 and 60, you should have a smear test.

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I finished having my family years ago. Do I still need a smear test?

Yes, if you're aged between 25 and 60 you should have regular smear tests.

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Should women who have sex with women have a smear test?

Yes, screening recommendations do not differ for women who have sex with women regardless of their history with men.

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I am over 60, can I have a CervicalCheck smear test?

Women aged 60 and over are not routinely invited by CervicalCheck to attend for cervical screening. However, if you are over 60 years and have never had a smear test, you may have a free test with CervicalCheck. See How to have smear test.

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I am under 25, why can I not have a CervicalCheck smear test?

CervicalCheck invites women between the ages of 25 and 60 for cervical screening. Based on evidence to date, there is no additional public health benefit in screening women below the age of 25. In women under the age of 25, minor changes in the cells of the cervix are common, however, invasive cancer is extremely rare. Population-based screening in women under the age of 25 may lead to many women receiving unnecessary treatment for not normal cells that would never have developed into cancer.

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Is cuid den tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Scagthástála é CervicalCheck
Bosca Oifig Phoist 161, Luimneach
Saorghlao 1800 45 45 55
CervicalCheck is part of the National Cancer Screening Service
PO Box 161 Limerick
Freephone 1800 45 45 55

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Is cuid den Rannóg Sláinte agus Folláine i bhFeidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte í an tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Scagthástála. Cuimsíonn sí BreastCheck – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Cíoch, CervicalCheck – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Ceirbheacs, BowelScreen – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Putóige agus Diabetic RetinaScreen – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Reitiní do Dhiaibéitigh.

The National Screening Service is part of the Health and Wellbeing Division of the Health Service Executive. It encompasses BreastCheck – The National Breast Screening Programme, CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme, BowelScreen – The National Bowel Screening Programme and Diabetic RetinaScreen – The National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme.