This week (12th June – 18th June) is Cervical Screening Awareness week.
The idea behind the week is to remind women how crucial it is to get a smear test at least once every three years if you are aged between 25-49, unless otherwise instructed by your GP.
Why Cervical Screening Awareness week?
Around 3000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK each year yet statistics show that at least one in four women forget or chose not to book themselves in for regular smears thus putting their health at risk!
During cervical cancer week, there are plenty of events designed to encourage women to get checked out whether they are genuinely scared of going or simply just forget!
The importance of having regular smears means that, whilst cervical cancer is still quite rare it is vital that it is treated as early as possible for the treatment to be most effective.
What is cervical cancer?
According to the NHS website, cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in a woman’s cervix (the entrance to the womb from the vagina).
Cancer of the cervix often has no symptoms in its early stages.
As per the above, cervical cancer rarely presents any symptoms in the early stages but as it progresses, the symptoms could include the below:
- Unusual bleeding after sex or at any other time during the month outside of your expected monthly period / post-menopausal bleeding
- Unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge
- Pain or discomfort during sex
It is important to remember, the smear test does not test for cancer but is designed to detect abnormal cells which in turn could indicate cancer.
Approximately five million women are tested each year with 90% of tests coming back clear.
Another important thing to remember is; even if there are abnormalities detected in the cells, this does not automatically mean you have cancer!
If you haven’t already done so and you know you are due to, call your GP or sexual health clinic and book your appointment now!