Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Young women avoiding smear tests over 'embarrassment'

Young women avoiding smear tests over 'embarrassment' Young women avoiding smear tests over 'embarrassment'
Melissa Porter | 22 January, 2018, 21:38

Robert Music, chief executive Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, said: "Cervical cancer is largely preventable with cervical screening (smear tests) providing the best protection against the disease".

This rises to one in three among 25 to 29-year-olds.

Women aged 25 to 49 are invited for cervical screening, also known as a smear test, every three years.

"My husband and my boss were urging me to go, so I went aged 32".

Embarrassment is keeping young women from getting smear tests, a survey rays.

Among women who have delayed or not attended, half (50%) are embarrassed to attend because of weight or body shape (35% of full sample), over half (54%) about having a "normal" smell (38% of full sample) and half (48%) because they don't like how their vulva looks (34% of full sample) or don't think it looks "normal" (39% compared to 28% of full sample).

Nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each day in the United Kingdom - however this disease could be largely preventable by attending a cervical screening appointment.

'I needed a radical hysterectomy and still struggle with some side effects of treatment today.

"Please don't put off your smear test, the alternative is so much worse".

"Screening prevents up to 75 per cent of cervical cancers yet the number of women attending is at a 20-year low in England with over one in four women in Brighton and Hove missing their test in the last year".

Prevention is key to improving cancer survival rates, and the CCG is supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week to increase screening uptake in Havering and help women reduce their risk of cervical cancer.

'It is of further concern that body worries are contributing to non attendance.

Max Kammerling, consultant in public health medicine and head of the public health screening and immunisation team for Surrey and Sussex, said: "It is really important for young women to understand the importance of attending cervical screening as it can detect pre-cancer abnormalities, which, if left untreated, may develop into cancer".

"Nurses are professionals who carry out millions of tests every year, they can play a big part in ensuring women are comfortable", Music added.

His words were echoed by cancer minister Steve Brine, who has lent his support to the charity's #SmearForSmear campaign, which was launched on January 22 for cervical cancer prevention week.

In 2009 reality television star Jade Goody died of cervical cancer which prompted nearly 500,000 extra women to go for smear tests - this became known as the "Jade Goody Effect". Others find it hard to see their GP and some simply forget.

The smear test isn't particularly fun or glamorous (sorry to break it to you), but it could save your life.