Cervical Cancer Prevention Week runs every January and this year it takes place between the 22nd and the 28th of January. Here at SCPN we’re taking part in the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust #smearforsmear campaign, and we will also be sharing a series of blog posts on highlighting the importance of smear tests in preventing cervical cancer. Our second blog post has been written in response to our previous blog post which was an anonymous confession about one womans experience, going for her smear test.
Cervical cancer affects almost 1 in 100 women
Precancerous changes precede cervical cancer by 10-15 years
Screening by smear picks up these precancerous changes
Treatment of precancerous changes reduce the risk of cervical cancer by 95%
If you would like to prevent cervical cancer,
An abnormal smear does not mean cancer. It means a surface change in the cells in the cervix that could maybe turn into cancer if left untreated. The reason for a colposcopy examination is to decide which changes need to be treated. This means looking at the cervix through a set of binoculars ( the colposcope) and putting some fluid on the cervix. This may be done by a nurse or a doctor who has been trained n colposcopy. Surface changes that need treating can almost always be treated in the clinic, either at the first or second visit. The examination takes about 5 minutes and the treatment, if needed, about another 5 to 10 minutes. Nearly all women leave the clinic saying the examination and treatment is slightly uncomfortable but not nearly as bad as they thought. We realize that some women have particular difficulties with examination but it is so important that these women come for their smear tests and follow up. For women who find examinations very difficult we can use many different ways to make it easier. Most of the women who need surgery or radiotherapy treatment for cervical cancer and most of the women who sadly still die from cervical cancer ( about 100 women a year in Scotland) are women who have not come for their smear tests on time. It is so sad to see women having life changing treatment for a cancer that could have been prevented by a 5 minute smear test and a half hour visit to the clinic . Please put it on your list for 2017