Last year a pair of 4th year medical students from Kings College, London carried out a study in the practice looking at myths that women have concerning cervical smears. They distributed this to patients: it was revealing how many misconceptions women had. Read this and see what you may learn.
Did you know that the statements below are ALL TRUE
1) The main cause of cervical cancer is the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
2) All women, regardless of their sexual preference (heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian) are at risk of developing cervical cancer.
3) Every women should have a regular smear test, including women who have never had a sexual experience (virgins).
4) The more sexual partners you have , the greater risk your risk of cervical cancer.
5) You should still have your smear test even if you are no longer sexually active, as the cancer can develop long after sexual activity.
6) HPV is transmitted through vaginal sex, but also oral sex, and skin-to-skin contact ( of the genital area) with an infected person.
7) You should still attend your smear tests despite having your HPV vaccine, as the vaccine protects against the commonest type of virus, but not all types.
8) Early stages of cervical cancer may present without symptoms, screening enables detection before symptoms.
9) An abnormal smear test does not mean cancer – it indicates early changes, which if left untreated, could become cancer.
10) You should not feel any pain on having a cervical smear.
11) There is always an option for a female member of staff performing your smear test.
12) Though cervical cancer is uncommon in young women, they may develop changes in the cervix that may develop changes in the cervix that may become cancer if not detected early.
13) The risk of cancer does not decrease with age – even after menopause it is important to attend your smear tests.
14) Smoking increases your risk of cervical cancer.
15) Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. The best preventions is attending smear tests.
All women aged between 25 and 64 are invited for cervical screening every three to five years.
The procedure is used to detect abnormal cells which, if left untreated, could lead to cancer in the cervix.
Screening coverage – the percentage of eligible women recorded as having been properly tested at least once in the last five years – has been falling.
On March 31 2014, the figure stood at 77.8%, down from 78.3% a year earlier and 80.6% a decade ago.
Across the UK, more than one in five invited to be screened don’t attend – one million women a year
Among 25 to 29-year-olds that figure rises to one in three.
Currently 33.7 per cent of 25 to 29 year-olds in and 22.3 per cent of 30 to 34 year-olds in the UK aren’t being screened.
The simple test can be carried out by practice nurses in local GP surgeries.
Every year in the UK, 300,000 women are diagnosed with cervical abnormalities.
Nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and three lose their lives, every single day.
Cervical screening saves around 5,000 lives a year.
But the Jo’s Trust research found that 20 per cent of young women see smear tests as unnecessary.
Other reasons given for not attending were concerns about pain (26.2 per cent) and embarrassment (26.6 per cent)
HAVE YOU BOOKED YOUR TEST OR ENCOURAGED YOUR
PARTNER / FRIEND / MOTHER / SISTER / DAUGHTERS / FEMALE RELATIVES TO BOOK THEIR TEST?