A cervical screening test (smear test) is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix. The cervix is the entrance to the womb from the vagina. Detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells can prevent cervical cancer. In the traditional test, in about 1 in 20 women, the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. Most of these changes won't lead to cervical cancer and the cells may go back to normal on their own, but in some cases, the abnormal cells needed to be removed so they do not progress to cancer. This was done every 2-5 years, depending on your
country’s screening policy. Cervical cancer is most common in women between 30-45, and rare under the age of 25.

We now know that the key factor that makes cervical cells change to cancer is infection with a virus called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). It is extremely unlikely to get cancer of the cervix if you don’t have this infection. Whilst you may have received the HPV vaccine, not all strains are covered and therefore as it is still relatively new preventative treatment, it is safer to join a recall programme for screening.

Recent studies have shown that by testing for HPV as a first step, we might be able to decrease the risk of cancer of the cervix by 22%, and less screening is required.

Due to these important factors of early detection the International Health Centres has changed its recall programme to reflect this. Those of you already on our recall list will automatically be contacted. New patients are welcome to contact us by email or telephone to make an appointment to see Dra Ana or Dra Helena. internationalhealthcentres@gmail.com or 00351 289 588923.

From now on, screening need only start at the age of 25, and is done every 5 years if you have a HPV test and the result is normal. If you opt to have a smear test only, recall is normally every two years depending on the result.

The introduction of this latest technology will not only offer improved protection for women, but is also less invasive. Although the technique is the same as a smear, as long as tests are negative, it will be done less often.

Please contact the clinic for further information and join our recall programme.


These are an important part of a woman’s health check. Unless indicated by your doctor or specialist, you should have one every three years. It is recommends to start at the age of 50 unless you have a family history of breast cancer or notice any changes in your breasts. These would continue until the age of 70 unless otherwise recommended.

We offer a recall system to remind you when you are next due your mammogram. We can also book the appointment for you.