Cervical Screening Prevention Week

17 Jan 2021 Anne Marie Fogarty

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Cervical Cancer Image- Compressed

Five million women are invited for cervical screening testing each year in the UK; as soon as you receive your invitation for the test, you really should attend. Cervical Cancer is a preventable disease in many cases. Early detection is paramount.

What is Cervical Screening Awareness Week all about?

This annual event raises awareness about cervical screening. This awareness is vital to ensure women get tested, know the facts, and are educated on cervical cancer symptoms.

Being the most common cancer for women under 35, it is essential women get their smear tests back on the agenda as soon as possible.

It takes a mere 5 minutes for the screening test that could save your life. Yes, some find it slightly uncomfortable, others barely notice it has been done- but the pros of the test far outweigh any cons.

This week is all about reminding ourselves how necessary smear tests are in the early detection of cervical cancer. Things are not quite back to normal just yet, so we want to do our bit to help you by answering your questions about what to expect at your next smear test.

Screening – what can you expect?

While the actual screening test is the same as previously, your visit to the GP or Health Nurse will be different since Covid-19. You will be asked to wear a face mask, attend on time, practice social distancing and cough etiquette. The GP or Nurse will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

What will be different at the GPs?

PPE – You will notice the doctor or nurse will be wearing gowns or aprons, face masks, gloves, and possibly visors over their face.

You will not be waiting with others in a waiting room anymore; you may be asked to enter and exit through different doors or wait outside until you are called into your appointment.

Can I book my Smear Test now?

If you have been invited to book, then yes, it’s ok to call your nurse or GP and book your appointment. If you are unsure, please check with your health visitor or GP. Of course, if you are self-isolating, you need to finish isolation before going to your appointment.

What are the symptoms of Cervical Cancer that  I should look out for?

Everyone is different, and you may not have all the symptoms (or none in the early stage) but if you are concerned, always contact your GP. As early-stage cervical cancer often shows no signs, early detection is vital, and so your smear test is one you should always attend.

The main symptoms include:

  • Bleeding between periods, after sexual intercourse, or menopause.
  • Pelvic pain – often lower back pain also.
  • Changes to vaginal discharge.
  • Painful intercourse.

Is it safe to get a smear test now?

While every situation is different, GPs will be practising safety measures to ensure all patients safety during Coronavirus. As early detection is so important in survival rates for cervical cancer, your smear test is something that should not be cancelled.

Should I be worried about getting Coronavirus while at the GP?

Coronavirus is a respiratory illness, so cervical screening is not considered a high-risk procedure. The staff will be wearing PPE and taking all necessary precautions to protect you.

Will I have to wait longer for my results?

Due to Coronavirus, your results might be delayed, but this is not always the case.

If you are concerned in any way, speak with your GP who will point you in the right direction.


Although going back for routine tests and GP visits can be concerning with the pandemic still looming, it is important to follow up on all your health needs.

Especially with these sneaky cancers that show no symptoms until it has progressed to a late stage, screening is the only way you might discover it, and so get treatment.

Smear tests save lives.




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