As anyone with a cervix knows, once you hit age 25, you’re called for a cervical screening (also known as a smear test). With a lot of taboo and misinformation surrounding the topic, we’ve decided to lay it out and dive into the nitty-gritty of all things cervix-related.
So, grab a cuppa and let's get comfortable as we fill you in on what cervical screening is all about and why it's crucial for your health.
What is cervical screening?
First things first, what exactly is cervical screening?
Well, it's a simple test that helps detect any abnormal changes in your cervix before they have a chance to turn into something more serious. The test itself involves taking a small sample of cells from your cervix. (We know it sounds a bit daunting, but trust us, it's not as scary as it seems.)
It's a quick procedure that usually takes less than five minutes or so, and the nurses and doctors who perform these tests are absolute pros at making you feel comfortable and at ease. They've seen it all, so don't worry about feeling embarrassed or awkward. You're in safe hands!
Why is getting a smear test so important?
Now, why is cervical screening so important? Well, here's the deal: it's your best defence against cervical cancer. By catching any abnormal changes early on, it gives you the opportunity to get the right treatment and nip any potential problems in the bud.
Cervical cancer can affect anyone with a cervix, regardless of age or lifestyle. It's caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is pretty common and can be spread through sexual activity. But here's the good news: regular screening can help detect any early signs of trouble caused by HPV, giving you a better chance at preventing cancer altogether.
When do you need to start getting smear tests?
The current guidelines in the UK suggest women between the ages of 25 and 64 should have cervical screening every 3 to 5 years. You’ll be invited for your first one around age 24 and a half, ready for when you turn 25. However, these recommendations may vary depending on your circumstances, so it's always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider and find out what's best for you. Remember, they're there to help and answer any questions you may have.
Life gets busy, and we often prioritise everything else over our own health. It’s all too tempting to put off booking that screening appointment. But it’s so important to make yourself a priority! By attending your cervical screening, you're taking a proactive step towards looking after yourself and your future wellbeing.
Cervical screening might not be the most glamorous thing to talk about, but it's a vital part of looking after your health. Embrace the opportunity to be an advocate for your own body and book that appointment. Your future self will thank you for it!