For Cervical Cancer Prevention Week running this week, I wanted to share some great resources to learn more about the importance of cervical screenings and support options for cervical cancer.
Many feel too nervous attending cervical screening or dismiss it as a non-essential appointment but here are three important reasons to attend your cervical screening appointment:
1. Along with the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, cervical screening is the best way to protect against cervical cancer and prevents over 7 in 10 diagnoses. However, one in three women and people with a cervix don’t attend cervical screening. It’s a test which saves lives, but it’s not always easy. To help you understand what is involved, watch this short video by Cancer Research UK.
2. Cervical screening is a free health test available in the UK as part of the national cervical screening programme. It helps prevent cervical cancer by checking for a virus called high-risk HPV and cervical cell changes. It is not a test for cancer.
Watch Dr Aziza Sesay’s (UK based General Practitioner, advocate for health education and promotion) video on ‘Afternoon Tea with Docs’ where she explains more about the benefits and the procedure.
3. There are lots of ways to make the test more comfortable
· Ask to book a longer or double appointment
· Ask for a smaller speculum
· Put the speculum in yourself
There are lots more tips you can read on the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website, the UK’s leading cervical cancer charity that sets out a vision of the future where cervical cancer is a thing of the past.
Cervical cancer prevention doesn’t stop at screening. 220,000 women and people with a cervix every year are told they have cervical cell changes after their screening, and many more are given a HPV diagnosis. Most people don’t know anything about this before it happens to them, and it can make for a very hard time.
· Find out about cervical screening
· Read information about different results from cervical screening
· Read storiesfrom women who have had cervical cell changes
· Join the campaign on social media using #CervicalCancerPreventionWeek
Cervical screening is so important and saves lives. It saved mine twice. I chose to have an elective hysterectomy and oopherectomy (ovaries removed) after being diagnosed with cervical cancer twice, at aged 25 and last year at 33. I was able to have treatment and elective surgery avoiding chemo and radiotherapy because I attended smears. They are not scary, or painful and absolutely save lives.