You already have a million and one things on your to do list and then the invitation letter drops through your door; time for your cervical screening appointment. The temptation for most people, and for a multitude of reasons, is to delay the appointment for as long as possible and ignore the pleas of their GP or practice nurse, family members or friends. But the truth is, those letters are literal life savers in some situations.
On 5 March 2019, Public Health England launched a new campaign ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’ urging women to attend for cervical screening as data shows a 20 year low in attendance. Missing a cervical screening appointment can have devastating consequences. Public Health England report that ‘Around 2,600 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year, and around 690 women die from the disease, which is two deaths every day. It is estimated that if everyone attended screening regularly, 83% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented.’
The cervical screening test (also known as a smear test) is a test to help prevent cancer; it checks the health of your cervix. The test takes around five minutes and a small number of cells are taken from the cervix to be tested for changes. The results are usually sent in the post around two weeks following the test. All people with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 64 are invited to have regular cervical screening at differing intervals.
If you are putting off booking your appointment, or you have lost your invite letter, then please arrange a screening test now by contacting your GP surgery. The NHS has published a helpful guide on cervical screening which includes a video on how the test is performed, provides further information on the screening process and details links to further help and support.