A smear is nothing to fear

Published June 11, 2018 at 10:26

Women are being urged to have their first smear test at the age of 25 to help prevent cervical cancer.

East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is promoting the 25 It’s Time campaign during Cervical Cancer Screening Week (June 11 to 17).

Women aged 25 to 30 are less likely than older women to accept an invitation for vital screening to find abnormal cells in the cervix – even though cervical cancer is more common in younger women.

As a result, GP practices across Lancashire have nominated cancer champions who receive training to increase the uptake.

Dr Neil Smith, a local GP and Cancer Lead for East Lancashire CCG, said:

More than 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Many people are not aware that it is more common in younger women, with half of the cases diagnosed in women under the age of 45.

Cervical screening is a way of preventing cancer by finding and treating abnormal cells in the cervix. These changes could lead to cancer if left untreated.

Cervical screening prevents 75 per cent of cervical cancers from developing but only about a third of 25 year olds invited for their first smear actually attend.

The GP practices in Pennine Lancashire are working to improve this by contacting young women with cards, text and telephone calls reminding them and booking an appointment for a smear test. We want to make it easier for everyone to take up their smear test invitation.

Victoria Gunston, 25, is supporting the campaign and added:

I was dreading going for my first smear but it was nowhere near as bad as I thought and it didn’t hurt one bit.

I can understand why someone may not want to go but I would certainly recommend having a smear.

Information on cervical cancer, and support for people affected, is available from the charities Jo’s Trust and Cancer Research UK. Keep up to date with 25 It’s Time campaign on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #25itstime

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