To highlight Cervical Screening Awareness Week (10-16 June), the colposcopy team at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn is urging women to book and attend for their smear tests.
The colposcopy team looks after the women who receive an abnormal smear result. Miss Taylor, the Lead Colposcopist said: “The first hurdle is to have the test done. It can be an anxious time if you have an abnormal result but we’re here to help. Usually any abnormal cells can be removed easily in the clinic and some don’t need removing at all as they mend themselves”.
Over 95% of patients seen by this team go on to receive a clear smear test at their next appointment after receiving treatment.
Over a third of the UK’s women missed their cervical screening appointments last year; a two minute procedure which is the best protection against cervical cancer and can identify abnormal cells before they become worrying.
Around 220,000 women every year receive an abnormal result, however treatment is highly effective and most people who go for colposcopy do not have cervical cancer.
Kim Coward, Specialist Nurse, encourages women to get screened. She said: “No one wants to think about cancer, but cervical screening is so important and could literally save your life”
In 2015, Cancer Research UK found a shocking 99.8% of cervical cancer cases were preventable, with most women saying they gave their smear a miss because of embarrassment or uncertainty.
Mandy Carruthers, Healthcare Assistant, said: “Women need to look after themselves. In some ways, a smear is the same thing as having your hair or nails done. We all need to take care of ourselves and be more open about our health and wellbeing.”
Smear tests are booked through GP surgeries and are usually carried out by the practice nurse. Whilst the appointment is 20 minutes, the physical examination itself only takes around 2 minutes or so.
Cervical screening is currently offered to over 25s every three to five years dependent on age. If you are unsure of your next cervical screening date, or would like more information on having a smear taken, contact your registered GP surgery and ask to speak to the Practice Nurse. For more information visit the NHS or Jo’s Trust websites.
Pictured: The Colposcopy Team and equipment used in a smear test procedure
To download the press release and pictures, click here.