Around five million women across the UK from the age of 25 are invited to attend their cervical cancer screening, also known as a smear test. From your mum, to your sister, or work colleague, every woman should undergo this vital and potentially lifesaving test every three to five years.
How do you develop cervical cancer?
More than 99% of cervical cancer cases in the UK occur in women who have previously been infected with HPV. HPV is a group of viruses which can be spread during sexual intercourse.
Four out of five women will develop a HPV infection in their lifetime. Some cases will pass without treatment or symptoms, however, around 15 types of HPV are considered high risk for cervical cancer. These high-risk HPVs contain genetic material that may lead to the growth of a cancerous tumor.
Symptoms of cervical cancer may include:
-Blood spots or light bleeding between periods or following periods
-Menstrual bleeding that is longer or heavier than usual
-Bleeding after pelvic examination
-Bleeding after menopause
-Pain during intercourse
-Unexplained, persistent back/pelvic pain
There’s a common concern from women about going for a smear test, however, we’re here to tell you that there’s nothing to worry about. A smear test usually takes around five minutes and should only cause slight discomfort, if any, but no pain.
Just five short minutes of something that you may consider potentially embarrassing, is five minutes with a nurse or doctor who performs hundreds of these tests a week, so you can rest assured that they will do all they can to make you feel as comfortable as possible.
Taking steps towards protecting yourself from cervical cancer will not only reduce your risk it will bring you peace of mind.
Dr Tang at Pall Mall Medical said: “The number of women going for regular smear screening is at its lowest in 19 years, so anything that can be done to encourage women to get checked, should be praised.” Dr Tang also urges women who notice any changes or symptoms, such as abnormal vaginal bleeding, to get checked immediately rather than wait for the scheduled 3-5-year check as early detection is key.
Women aged between 18-25 are not eligible for a smear test on the NHS. This age group, along with anyone else that is concerned with their symptoms but struggling to get a GP appointment should book a smear test at a private clinic. At Pall Mall Medical we offer next day appointments with results available in one week.
Click here to book your smear test now.