Published on: 25 January 2024

NHS South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cancer Alliance are encouraging people to attend their screening appointments when invited to help prevent cervical cancer

This week (22-28 January) is Cervical Cancer Prevention week and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cancer Alliance are raising awareness of the cervical cancer screening programme.


Cervical cancer screening (also called a smear test) is offered to anyone with a cervix aged 25-64, this includes women, some trans men and some non-binary people who were assigned female at birth.


Screening is key to preventing cervical cancer as it tests cervical cells for human papillomavirus (HPV) and high risk HPV. High risk HPV has potential to cause cell changes in the cervix, which may lead to cervical cancer over time. Not all cell changes will develop into cancer, but monitoring any changes, and giving treatment if required is important. Almost all cervical screening cases are linked to HPV and this is why cervical screening is so important in preventing cervical cancer.


Dr Steph Edgar, GP and Clinical Lead for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cancer Alliance, said: “It is so important for people to attend their cervical screening appointments when invited, even if they have had their HPV vaccine, and even if their last test came back negative. The screening and vaccine together provide a real opportunity to eradicate cervical cancer cases in the future.”


Approximately 2,700 people are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year, but the NHS screening programme helps to save around 5,000 lives each year. This could increase with more people attending their potentially life-saving cervical screening appointments when invited.


Tracey Butler from Sheffield shared her experience of going for her cervical screening appointment and how it saved her life: “Cervical screening saved my life. After my first screening in my 20’s, I was referred for further tests in hospital as they found abnormal cells. Unfortunately, they found that I had the highest grade of precancerous cells. Luckily because I’d been for my smear and they’d been found in time, it didn’t turn in to cancer. If I’d not have been for my screening things could have been so different.


"I strongly encourage everyone that is invited to attend their appointment It’s not necessarily a pleasant experience but it’s not painful either. The nurse put me at ease and talked me through everything she was doing, and it was over pretty quickly.”



Read Tracey’s full story on our website: Screening experiences - Tracey, Sheffield :: South Yorkshire, Bassetlaw & North Derbyshire Cancer Alliance (


Eradicating cervical cancer is a real and remarkable opportunity but can only be achieved if people take up the offer of a screening appointment. When invited, people are urged to book their appointments, even if they have missed a previous one.


For more information about cervical screening, please visit the links below:

Cervical screening - NHS (

Cervical screening (smear test) | Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust (