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Let's be clear about having your cervical smear.

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Cher_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,734 Disability Gamechanger

This week (18 to 24 January 2021) is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.  An annual event dedicated to increasing the awareness of cervical cancer symptoms and the importance of having cervical smears.


Woman walking through a sunlit park
 

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

It’s important to look out for changes in your body that might indicate you should visit your GP.
The team at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust explain:
Cervical cancer may not cause any symptoms or the symptoms may not be obvious. The most common symptoms of cervical cancer include:
• vaginal bleeding that is unusual for you, including after the menopause, after sex, or between regular periods
• changes to vaginal discharge
• pain or discomfort during sex
• unexplained pain in your lower back or between your hip bones (pelvis).

It is important to remember that these symptoms usually happen for reasons other than cervical cancer. But it is also important to contact your GP straight away, so they can give you reassurance and support.

How can a smear test help and what does it involve?

In-addition to looking out for symptoms, you should receive a letter and be invited for a regular smear test between the ages of 25 to 64.  Smear tests are used to check the health of your cervix and are one of the best ways of preventing cervical cancer.

This short sub-titled NHS video explains what happens during a smear test.

https://youtu.be/OU7fZb_sTus

The idea of having a smear test can provoke anxiety, particularly for those who might have experienced sexual violence in the past.  If this is something you struggle with, visit this Cervical screening after sexual violence webpage for professional advice and emotional support.   


What can I do this Cervical Cancer Awareness week?

  • Join in the #SmearForSmear campaign and raise awareness by sharing your tips, stories or reminders about cervical screening on social media, using the hashtag.
  • If you’ve had a letter through to attend for your smear, but haven’t yet rung your GP’s, why not do it now or talk with someone about what might be stopping you.
  • Chat about cervical cancer and screening more by commenting below with your experiences of cervical cancer, tips about smears and more about how you keep yourself healthy.  
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