Cervical Screening has once again come to the forefront of the media with daytime TV shows such as Loose Women, highlighting the importance of attending your appointment. Cervical Screening, or a ‘smear test’ as it is often referred to as, is a test which helps prevent cancer by checking the health of a cervix. It is offered to all women and people with a cervix between the ages of 25 – 64. While it sounds scary, it is actually a very quick procedure and could save your life.
I had my first cervical screening this year, at the age of 26. Having been invited by letter just before my 25th birthday, I was unable to make an appointment at the time due to being pregnant. Once I was able, following the birth of my son, I rang my local GP surgery and was booked in with a nurse.
Admittedly, I was extremely nervous. I knew what the test consisted of – a small speculum inserted downstairs and a little swab of the cervix cells. Even reading it now, looks scary
When I arrived, I was immediately put at ease. The nurse was so lovely and explained the process to me. Despite saying that I was nervous (even after having a baby!), I was reassured that there was nothing to worry about and quite frankly, they were right!
The test took no longer than 5 minutes. I remember jokingly apologising for not shaving my legs for the occasion and trust me, that’s the last thing they notice. The test wasn’t painful at all and not particularly uncomfortable either – although it’s important to tell the nurse if you are feeling any pain or discomfort. And that was it! Very quick and just like that, the nurse had all the information she needed to send off
I received my results in the post a couple of weeks later and I am fortunate that I do not need any further investigation. If you are requested to attend a cervical screening appointment, I urge you to attend. You’re able to bring someone with you and the nurse is able to stop the test at any point.
You can request information regarding the nature of the test and any information about the possible outcomes before you agree to it. In addition, the NHS website has some helpful advice about what to expect, before, during and after. It’s worth having if it
could save your life.