Women aged 25 to 70 years.
From November 2019, the National Cervical Screening Programme changed the starting age from 20 years of age to 25 years of age. This is because screening women aged 20 to 24 has shown to be ineffective at preventing cervical cancer, whereas there has been significant reductions in both cancer incidence and mortality for women older than 25 years of age. The HPV vaccination programme (for all females and males aged 9 to 26 years) is proving to be a more effective preventative pathway for cervical cancer in that age group.
The age change is in line with international best practice and recommendations from the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer.
What about women who are already in the screening programme and are under 25?
Women aged 20-24 years who have already started screening will continue to be offered screening in accordance with the current programme guidelines.
What if I am under 25 but have concerning symptoms?
Women who have symptoms, such as abnormal vaginal bleeding, persistent discharge or pelvic pain, should see their health care provider who will arrange appropriate investigation.