Why You Should Go And Get Your Smear Test

why you should go and get your smear test

Full disclosure – I’ve always been okay after a smear test. I have had two so far in my life and my results have come back normal. Other people I know haven’t been so lucky and have had abnormal results – read a blog post from Jess on her cervical screening experience here. Smear tests are something I believe every woman should get as soon as she is able to. In fact, I think they should be available from when women turn 18 rather than the age of 25 but that’s a whole other story.

I was shocked and appalled at the recent news story that smear tests are at a 20 year low – they are saying that the Jade Goody effect has now long gone. I’m sure we all remember Jade’s battle and the influx of people having smear tests afterwards to hopefully avoid the same fate. Why are we getting complacent again? Do we need someone suffering in the public eye in order to scare us into going? Why aren’t we taking steps to look after our health?

I have friends older than me that still haven’t even been for their first ever smear test. They’ve had babies and are at an age where they could be susceptible to cervical cancer yet won’t go because they are scared. I was scared the first time – I’d heard horror stories from people saying that it hurt but others said it was a minor scratch and that was it. I was nervous, I was scared but there was no chance that I wasn’t going to go for my smear test – a few moments of pain rather than suffering from cancer – I know what I would prefer. I have seen first hand what cancer can do to a person – I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. It’s not painful to have a smear test – but even if it was, surely a few moments of pain is much more preferable to constant suffering?

why you should go and get your smear test

Even if you get abnormal results, this doesn’t mean you have cancer or will get cancer. Your smear test can detect abnormal cervical cells which can develop into cancer – but aren’t yet. Catching them early through a cervical screening will thus of course reduce your risk of cancer developing. A cervical screening isn’t a test for cancer, it is a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix. Most women’s test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.

Most of these changes won’t lead to cervical cancer and the cells may go back to normal on their own but in some cases these cells need to be removed so they can’t become cancerous. There are around 3000 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed each year in the UK.

The whole experience is over in a matter of mere minutes – I would actually say the part that is the most worrying is the time period whilst you are waiting for your results to come back. I recently had my smear test and because of Christmas, my results were delayed getting to me in the post – sometimes that can really get your mind whirring.

My results finally arrived last week letting me know the cells in my sample looked normal and my risk of cervical cancer is very low at this time. It also let me know roughly when I should expect my next screening to be. They also stipulated that if you have certain symptoms in the three years between screenings that you should speak to a GP as soon as possible to rule out anything untoward.

So why should you go and get your smear test?

It could save your life

Finding out about those abnormal cells and getting them removed if required is much better than not knowing about them and having them develop into something worse.

It can give you peace of mind

It is very likely that your results will come back normal. Surely a few minutes of being uncomfortable with your legs akimbo is worth it to know where you stand when it comes to your cervical health.

It may encourage someone else to do the same

I get it – the prospect can seem terrifying, especially when it is your first ever screening. But it isn’t as bad as some people make it out to be – the worst part is having to get everything down there out in front of the nurse more than anything! Whilst I still haven’t persuaded certain friends to go and have their screenings, me going for mine has reminded others to book theirs in which is great.

They really aren’t as bad as some people make out

As with all things, some people will have genuinely bad experiences but we all also know people who over dramatise absolutely everything. Some people will make a smear test sound absolutely torturous when it is anything but. If anything, it is a small scratch to your cervix and feeling a little bit uncomfortable for a minute or two. THAT’S IT. Nothing more, nothing less – and really nothing to be worried about.

I’ve just recently had mine but will be ready to book mine in again in 2020 when my next one is due. Have you ever had a cervical screening/smear test? Are you as shocked at the figures as I am?

17 thoughts on “Why You Should Go And Get Your Smear Test

  1. I’ve only had one smear test which I couldn’t get done when it was first due but that was because I was pregnant. I don’t think there is enough education around smear testing and I think it should be spoken about to young women in high schools, college and university. I know there is more adverts saying to go get one but I don’t think there is enough educate on the importance and reason why.

  2. I was shocked about women not getting it done too. I had my first smear 3 years ago a couple of months after I had my son and am due to have one this year too. Its so important to get it done I’d rather that than cancer. I’m definitely going to do a post on this too as its important to raise awareness.

  3. I need to book in my smear, it was due late last year and with one thing after another, I’ve still not managed to make it – I’ll have to make a reminder in my phone right now!

  4. My mum had cancerous cells found during her first smear test and it’s always meant I’ve been well up on getting mine done, as soon as I get the letter I’m booked in but it shocks me when people say they don’t go x

  5. I always book my tests and whilst they are a little embarrassing and uncomfortable, they could say a lot of pain and suffering down the line. One thing that really upset me though, is that when my daughter was 17 and had been sexually active awhile, she came to the clinic with me and wanted to book her first smear.
    She was turned away for being too young – Because obviously young people don’t get cervical cancer?!?!?!
    She still doesn’t meet the age requirement.

  6. I just had a harsh warning from my GP surgery that I am overdue to my smear. I am usually very good with booking in when I get my reminder, but in the last six months all kinds of things have happened and I put it off. It isn’t that I want to avoid it, but I really do need to make that appointment. Reading this has reminded me, so thank you.
    I have two teen daughter’s, both of whom have asked about it, and I tell them straight. How important it is, and that in real terms, it is a tiny inconvenience that is over quickly, and done by ladies that know exactly how you’re feeling.

  7. I had mine done a couple of weeks ago and my daughter had her first one too. It is vital people go and the tests are not as uncomfortable as they used to be either thanks to more modern equipment

  8. I just had my smear test last month, I was really anxious this time as I’ve had so many gynae issues over the last year, but thankfully it was totally clear. I think its’ so important that we keep up to date with them, it can save your life!

  9. Great post. This is such an important topic and it is so important that we spread the message and encourage women to go and get their smear tests.

  10. I just wanted to chip in and say that I have had a smear test as well – even though I find it super embarrassing an I was worried that it would be painful. I have a copper IUD/coil, which hurt me when it was put in and I nearly fainted afterwards- I was worried that getting a smear test would be the same but it was actually quite straight forward and didn’t hurt.

  11. It’s really important to go but i do think the people in charge of them are too faced. They keep sending letters insist people go for one, but younger people get turned away because they are too young. The medical people can’t have it both ways – insist people have one and then refuse to them for certain people

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