Calm fear and ensure you get your smear this New Year

Posted by: charlene - Posted on:

Patients up and down the country have been very vocal about not being able to see their GP, recently.

But when offered free cervical cancer screening that could save their life – close-on half of women aged between 25-64 attending an Oldham surgery, either cancelled or didn’t attend their appointment.

And medics at the Royton Medical Centre are concerned that stigma and fear allied to myths about smear tests, could be putting women’s lives at peril and exerting pressure on the NHS further down the line.

Experts believe that 99.8% of cervical cancer cases are preventable (1) and the NHS is adamant that screening plays a major part not in detecting cancer but in preventing it (2). Although the idea of a smear test can appear painful, evasive, and uncomfortable to talk about for some, they are essential.

The Royton Medical Centre recently invited 163 women to attend smear tests – but only 52% took up the offer.

Busy lives were no excuse to miss the screening that prevents over 3000 cases of the condition to be diagnosed in the UK each year. Nor were archaic attitudes, including from men who opened-up private NHS letters and refused to allow their wives, partners, daughters, and others to get tested.

The Royton Medical Centre will be organising a Women’s Day in January, where cervical screening will be made available. This is part of a concerted effort in 2023, to address health inequalities – particularly when it comes to the treatment of females and conditions such as endometriosis, breast cancer and menopause.

Last July, the UK Government published a 10-year-plan to even-up the healthcare women and girls receive. Although generally welcomed, critics claimed the fact that this was the first such strategy ever, spoke volumes! (3)