Cervical screening (a smear test) checks the health of your cervix and is one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.
Whilst most cervical screening results are normal, and smear tests are not a test for cancer, they look for abnormal cell changes. If abnormal cells are not treated, they may turn into cervical cancer and the earlier they are found the more treatable they are
Macmillan GP and Joint Cancer Lead for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG, Dr Oliver Stovin, is urging patients to take up the offer of a smear test when offered as it could save their life.
Dr Stovin said, “Although we still offered smear tests throughout the pandemic, uptake of cervical smears dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are encouraging anyone who might have missed or delayed their appointment to book in with us as soon as possible.
“Thanks to the fantastic work of our GP practices over the last six months, cervical screening rates in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have recovered faster than the England average.
“However, we have found that 50-64 year olds have been better than 25-49 year olds at rebooking the cervical screenings they have missed. So, we would really like to encourage the younger group to book themselves in too, as well as anyone else who has delayed their screening.
“It’s now easier than ever to make an appointment, thanks to extra staffing at our extended hours GP hubs, which even offer evening and weekend appointments. Get in touch with your GP practice to book.”
Patients feeling worried about going for their smear test should not feel alone. At the cervical screening (smear test) appointment, a nurse will take a sample of cells from the cervix using a small, soft brush. The test only takes a few minutes and isn’t usually painful. Patients may find it helpful to know as much as possible about what going for a smear test is like before going for their appointment. The best thing to do is talk to someone you trust about their own experience, speak to your doctor’s surgery, or call the Jo’s Trust charity free Helpline on 0808 802 8000.
You can also read more online at www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/ and www.jostrust.org.uk/
Anyone who has missed or delayed a cervical screening is encouraged to contact their GP practice to book an appointment today.