Smear tests – awkward 5 minutes that can save your life
By Priscilla Marfoa, Litigation Executive in the Medical Negligence Department at Fletchers Solicitors
On average, smear tests prevent 75% of cervical cancers. In recent years, there has been a decline of women undergoing this procedure due to various reasons such as being body conscious, or labelled promiscuous and it being unpleasant.
#SmearforSmear 2019 is a campaign which was established by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust that took place recently to ensure that every woman understands the importance of having a smear test and the implications if you decide to opt out.
Everyday, two women in England sadly pass away due to cervical cancer, despite it being one of the most preventable cancers if detected at an early stage. On average, 200,000 women in England are diagnosed with abnormal cancer cells every year which can result in cervical cancer.
Records have shown that the lowest uptake is sadly among women in their late 20s with four in ten failing to have the procedure done.
The NHS National target is for 80% of women aged 25 to 49 to be tested every three years and the same proportion aged 50 to 64 to be screened every five years. However, recent uptake figures have shown only 71.4% on average with some regions in England being below 50%.
All women between the ages of 25 and 64 will be contacted for a regular cervical screening. Generally, you will receive a letter in the post inviting you to make an appointment.
- Women under the age of 25 will be invited up to six months before they turn 25
- Women age 25 to 49 will be invited for a screening every 3 years
- Women age 50 to 64 will be invited every 5 years
- Women age 65+ will only be invited if one of their last 3 tests was abnormal
Cervical screening is an important way to protect yourself from cervical cancer therefore if you have not undergone one and your age 25+ or missed a smear test appointment please contact your GP for you to be invited for a smear test.
For more information on cervical cancer or smear tests please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/ or contact Support from the Cervical Screening Programme on 020 3682 0890.