The number of women attending for their cervical screening has decreased over the years with so many less women taking up the offer for cervical screening. This is very worrying as this screening test, which only takes minutes, really can identify those cells that could be developing into cervical cancer. This test prevents them from developing further into cancer, saving your life.
Why don’t women attend for their cervical screening when invited?
There are a number of reasons why women don’t attend for their smears:
- It can be due to the fact that it is an intimate examination and is very personal
- Through embarrassment
- Being frightened, some may have had a bad experience or other personal factors
- Time to go to appointment, maybe around work, getting an appointment before or after
People feel if they don’t get a smear test then it’s all normal, they don’t have to know the result and can carry on, all because they don’t have any symptoms.
Having been a Colposcopist for over 20 years and seeing so many women with cervical cancer the one thing they always say is “why didn’t I go for my smear, if I could go back I would never miss my smear tests”.
Having a smear test is just a screening test, if you have abnormalities on a smear test, you don’t have any symptoms, you don’t know, but once you have symptoms then there is a possibility that there is a cancer there.
So thinking “oh there is nothing wrong or I would know”, you don’t know when the cells are abnormal. This is what the smear test picks up. It’s not there to pick up a cervical cancer, because then it would be too late, it is there to let us identify the warning signs that need to be investigated and possibly treated to prevent it developing into cervical cancer.
Did you know that of all the cancers, cervical cancer is at the bottom? The reason for this is not due to it being ‘unlikely that you will get it’ but because of the cervical screening programme, identifying abnormal cells early means prevention is available and the introduction of the HPV injection in schools has also really helped.
Cervical cancer is not hereditary, so you can’t think my mum; grandma hasn’t had it so I won’t.
Where can I go for my smear?
You don’t just have to go to your GP, you can go to any family planning clinic, no appointment is needed you can just turn up.
Don’t delay, book yours today.