The health service has completed its rollout of a new screening method which sees cervical samples first checked for the human papilloma virus (HPV).
HPV causes almost all cases of cervical cancer and can also cause cancers in other genital areas, such as the vagina, vulva, penis and anus. The infection spreads through close skin-to-skin contact, usually during sex or oral sex.
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Until now, cervical screening samples have been examined and those that showed possible cell changes were then tested for HPV.
But this has now being switched around, with cells first tested for HPV infection, and only those that have the virus examined for abnormal cells.
This means any sign of infection can be spotted at an earlier stage before cancer goes on to develop.
Research has also shown that the new method picks up far more cases of pre-cancerous lesions than the old one.
There are 2,500 new cases of cervical cancer in England every year and a quarter of these could be prevented with the new method of testing.
Alongside the new screening, all 12-and-13-year-olds in school years eight are offered a vaccine to protect against HPV.
Currently, the national NHS HPV vaccination programme uses the vaccine Gardasil, which protects against four types of HPV that cause most cases of cancer.