The more I research into stats about cervical cancer the more I realise, that when it comes to cervical cancer, that the old saying ‘ignorance kills’ is painfully true. Cervical cancer is really treatable — if it’s caught early enough — and regular smear tests every three years should hopefully see to that.
Now, I know that Jade Goody’s untimely death bought cervical cancer into the limelight but so much more needs to be done to de-mystify the smear test process and banish any remaining taboos on the subject. Maybe we’re squeamish about discussing cervical cancer because, it’s, you know, *cough* down there? Maybe it’s just the word ‘smear’ which really doesn’t help? Or maybe we should just get over ourselves and stop being embarrassed about our bodies and start taking care of our health!
I’ve included a few of the most helpful links I found, but just to get you started, here’s the top three things that you need to know about cervical cancer and why you should get a smear test.
1. Having regular smear tests can help detect abnormal pre-cancerous cells. Around 1000 women die of cervical cancer each year in the UK and you have to wonder what percentage of those women could have been saved. Even if it’s just one woman, it’s worth it. Want to find out if you might develop cervical cancer? Have a smear test.
2. In a staggering 99.7% of cervical cancer cases, a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV), has been shown to be present, which is a very common type of virus. Fortunately, the type of HPV which can lead to cervical cancer is rare. So, if cervical cancer isn’t hereditary, and there’s no way of guessing if you might or might not be prone to developing it, you need to have a smear test to find out.
3. OK, go and put the kettle on – just fill it enough for one cuppa. Make it and then come back… You done? Good – that is longer than it takes to get a smear test.
Seriously. Having a smear test is quick, and easy, and thanks to the NHS, it’s also free for you at your doctor, the local family planning clinic or GUM (Genito-urinary medicine) clinic.
Want to find out more:
Helpline: 0808 802 8000 open Monday – Friday providing information and support on a range of topics including screening concerns, screening results, cervical abnormalities, cervical cancer, treatments and survivorship issues.