Cervical Screening Awareness Week

There are around 2,700 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in England every year, but we can make this a thing of the past thanks to cervical screening and HPV vaccination.

The NHS Cervical Screening Programme saves thousands of lives every year by checking for high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which causes nearly all cervical cancers. 

If you have received an invitation for cervical screening, please don’t wait or put it off: call your GP practice to book an appointment as soon as possible. Evening and weekend appointments are available at some GP practices, making it more convenient and some local sexual health services also offer cervical screening.

If you missed your last cervical screening, book an appointment with your GP practice now – it is not too late.

High-risk HPV testing is a more sensitive and accurate test than the previous screening method (known as a smear test), which tested for abnormal cells, and is the best way to find out who is at higher risk of developing the cervical cell changes that over time could potentially lead to cervical cancer. 

Tips for anyone attending their cervical screening

You clinician will do everything we can to make you feel comfortable. If you’re nervous and need more time for your screening, ask the receptionist for a longer appointment when booking. You can also bring someone you trust to the appointment, such as a friend or family member.

The majority of cervical screenings are performed by a female nurse or doctor, but you can request this when you book.

  • During the appointment you can ask for a private space to undress from the waist down, as well as a sheet to cover you. You can also wear a long top or dress during the screening.
  • If you’ve found the procedure uncomfortable in the past, we can discuss using a smaller speculum, or trying a different position like lying on your side. You are in control of your screening appointment and can ask to stop at any time.
  • You can bring your favourite music or podcast to listen to during your appointment if this helps put you at ease.
  • We’re happy to talk you through the process and give you lots of tips to ease any anxiety.
  • Some GP practices offer evening and weekend appointments to make it more convenient for you to attend.

If you have received your screening invitation, please don’t wait – book your appointment now.

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