South Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and North Derbyshire Cancer Alliance are encouraging women to take up their cervical screening when invited.
A cervical screening test (previously known as a smear test) is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix. Women are invited to attend NHS cervical screening from the ages of 25 and 64.
Cervical screening is not a test for cancer; it checks the health of the cells of the cervix and detects any abnormal changes. Most changes won’t lead to cervical cancer and cells may go back to normal on their own but in some cases abnormal cells need to be removed so they can’t become cancerous.
It is estimated that early detection and treatment through cervical screening can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers from developing. If cancer is detected early there is a much higher chance of survival in comparison to cancers caught at a later stage. Despite these figures 1 in 3 women aged 25-29 don’t attend cervical screening.
Dr David Crichton, a Doncaster GP and Early Diagnosis Clinical Lead for South Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and North Derbyshire Cancer Alliance, said: “A lot of women put off attending cervical screening due to embarrassment or fear that the test may hurt. Women have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about, the doctor or nurse performing the screening do this all the time and they are there to support and comfort women – not to judge.
“Some women find the procedure a bit uncomfortable but for most women it’s not painful – tell the doctor or nurse if you have concerns. I urge everyone who receives their screening invitation to take up the offer as soon as possible – it could be lifesaving.”
If you have missed your cervical screening appointment, you are encouraged to contact your GP practice to book an appointment as soon as possible.