This week is all about cervical cancer awareness. The theme for the Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2018 is “Reduce your risk”.
One easy way to reduce your risk is to have regular smear tests.
In the UK women are invited by the NHS to have their first smear at the age of 25. Smear tests are estimated to save 4,000 lives every year, however screening is at the lowest it’s been for 20 years. In England more than 1.2 million women don’t take up offered appointments to have a smear.
So many women are not having their smear test when invited. Why is this?
I don’t know about you, but I found it embarrassing. The thought of having my legs akimbo in front of a relative stranger, albeit a medical professional, when I was first invited to have my smear was almost enough to put me off. But I went. And it was quick. Uncomfortable, sure, embarrassing, slightly, but it was done. And, after all, staff are trained to treat you with respect and dignity.
My second smear test came back with abnormal cells – a bit of a worry but it was swiftly followed up. I ended up with another smear test and then a trip to the hospital. There I had a LOOP operation which involved removing these abnormal cells and testing them further. Luckily, nothing else came of that and my smears since have been clear.
I’m glad I went because according to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust 75% of cervical cancer can be prevented just by regular smear tests. I believe I am in that 75%.
So I urge you, please go have your smear test when invited. Over 25, registered with a GP and not had an invite? Chase them up!
Statistics show that the number of women aged 25-29 years of age being screened for cervical cancer is the lowest in any age group and numbers attending for screening are falling year on year. This particular age group is more likely to have a full bikini wax – something that can be super painful, uncomfortable, waving your nether regions at a beautician, and you PAY for the pleasure – than have a smear test, which takes less time than a wax.
Obviously, I am not naive enough to think that having regular smear tests stop you from getting cancer. However, if caught early enough cervical cancer can be treated and smears are the way to catch anything early.
Come on ladies, make time, don’t fear the smear and get yourself tested. It could literally save your life.