Here in the UK, if you’re 25 or over and have a cervix you should be invited to have a cervical screening test by your GP. If for whatever reason you fit the criteria but are not invited you must speak to your GP to make an appointment, it could save your life.
The topic of cervical screenings can be an uncomfortable conversation with many people choosing not to attend their appointments due to fear, embarrassment or risk of pain, among many other reasons (and we need to change that)!
What is the test?
During the screening a small sample of cells is taken from the cervix and tested for any abnormalities like those caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) that have the potential to become cancerous over time. The point of this test is to prevent any abnormalities becoming cancerous. Finding these changes early allows for further monitoring and/or treatment so they don’t have the opportunity to become cancerous!
What is HPV?
HPV is the name of a common group of viruses. HPV primarily affects the skin and there are more than 100 types of HPV. It’s so common that most people will get some type of HPV in their lifetime. Many types of HPV affect the mouth, throat or genital area. The only way to test for HPV is through cervical screenings which is why these screenings are so important.
A common misconception about this test is that it is a test for cancer, when it’s actually a test to prevent cancer. Seeing the word cancer does put the fear in people but to put it in perspective out of every 100 people with cervixes, 94 people will have a normal result. For most people with an abnormal result, they’re invited for further screenings to monitor the virus. Most HPV infections don’t cause any problems and can be cleared by the body within 2 years. It’s the early catching and monitoring that makes all the difference!
Remember, even if you’ve had the vaccination for HPV you still need to attend your cervical screening. It’s really important to know what the test is for, what the results mean and why it’s important to attend your appointment. The more we talk about these things, the easier it becomes. Let’s encourage each other to attend these important appointments, and create a generation where we can prevent cervical cancer and save lives!
Further information can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/ & https://www.axappphealthcare.co.uk/why-is-cervical-screening-important/
Thanks so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post.
Let me know your thoughts on cervical screenings!