Health checks and tests

It is beneficial to visit your GP or family planning clinic for regular medical check-ups. Particularly if you are at high risk of a specific disease.

Screening tests help GPs to detect many diseases, such as cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes and some cancers in their early stages.

If you are sexually active, it’s also important to keep an eye on your sexual health.

Cervical screening tests, STI screening and pregnancy check-ups

Health checks from your GP can include:

Cervical screening test

An important screening test to pick up signs of irregularities that could lead to cervical cancer if not treated. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. As of December 2017, the Pap test (every 2 years) has been replaced by the Cervical Screening Test (every 5 years), which detects human papillomavirus (HPV).

Cervical Screening Tests are necessary if you have ever been sexually active. Your first Cervical Screening Test should be two years after your last Pap test. You will be invited to have your Cervical Screening Test when you are due to participate, via the National Cancer Screening Register. It is recommended that you have the test every five years until you are 74. Even if you have had the HPV vaccine, it is important to continue to have regular Cervical Screening Tests.

STI test

If you are under 30 years of age and sexually active, have a urine test for chlamydia each year, as chlamydia can affect your fertility and often has no symptoms. If you have sex with one or more new partners without a condom, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor about checking for other sexually transmissible infections.

Pregnancy check-up

Have a general check-up before planning a pregnancy to discuss any pregnancy health risks. Once you are pregnant, regular antenatal checks help monitor your baby’s development, pick up abnormalities and assess your health. Tests include ultrasound scans, urine tests and blood tests.

Breast cancer health checks for women

If you notice any breast changes, be sure to visit your GP within the next week.

Women aged between 50 and 74 years who have no personal or family history of breast cancer are recommended to have a screening mammogram (breast X-ray) every two years.

If you have a personal or family history of breast cancer, your doctor can help you to decide how often you need to be screened.

Where to get checked and tested

Further reading