Cervical Screening Awareness

Week 15-21stJune

Cervical Screening is often known as a 'Smear Test' Cervical screening helps prevent cervical cancer and currently in England prevents 70% of cervical cancer deaths, if everyone attended this number could be increased to 83%! In England, around 2,600 are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 690 die from it each year. (PHE, 2021)

Who should be screened?

Cervical screening is for women and people with a cervix. Screening is offered every 3 years to individuals aged 25-49 and every 5 years to those aged 50-64. This is because most cervical cancers develop between these ages. You should consider having screening regardless of your sexual orientation, sexual history, or whether you have had the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. Having cervical screening lowers your chances of getting cervical cancer. Screening finds abnormal cells, so they can be removed before they become cancer.

Common Myths

I'm too young to get cancer

25-29 year olds are the least likely to attend routine smear tests yet most likely to have an abnormality detected with 63% pre-cancers being found in this age group.
Screening aims to pick up cancers at an early stage when they are more treatable- cervical screening also picks up pre-cancerous changes so it actually works to prevent you getting cancer at all.

It's too embarrassing

It’s important to remember that your Nurse or Dr with have most likely performed hundreds or possible thousands of smears. If you feel more comfortable with a female smear-taker this is often a common request and can be often be arranged.
The procedure is over in minutes and feel empowered to let your smear-taker know if you want them to tell you what they're doing at every step – if this makes you feel more comfortable.

It hurts!

Your smear should not be painful.
If you're anxious, it can make you tense up more: let your smear taker know if you're feeling a bit nervous, and they will stop immediately if you're uncomfortable. These days it’s a plastic that’s used specula device and you can ask for it to be sized. Give your GP a ring a few weeks before you attend to discuss this

If I develop signs of cancer, I can always go then

Often at this stage treatment is likely to be much more extensive- having regular smears aims to combat this at the early stages.
But if you do develop bleeding between periods or after the menopause, or before or during sex, prioritise to see your GP.

 For more information, please speak to a member of staff today or visit the following sites for more information and first-hand experiences:

Cervical screening: helping you decide - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

Information | Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust (jostrust.org.uk)

Published: Jun 9, 2021