In the UK, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women under 35 (after breast cancer). About 2,800 women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer.
The NHS Cervical Screening Programme aims to reduce the number of women who develop cervical cancer and the number of women who die from the disease.
All women aged between 25 and 64 are invited for cervical screening. Being screened regularly means that any abnormal changes in the cervix can be identified early on and, if necessary, treated to stop cancer developing.
It is estimated that early detection and treatment can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers from developing.
For more information about cervical smears visit NHS Choices.