Cervical Smear tests:
Whether or not a girl or woman has been vaccinated against certain forms of HPV it is really important that she attends cervical cancer screening when invited to from the age of 25 years. This is because some strains that are not vaccinated against may still cause changes to the cells of the cervix which could lead to cervical cancer – this is monitored with a simple screening test every three years.
Many women put off having smear tests as they are unsure of what happens or find them uncomfortable, or are embarrassed. by the thought of the whole process. The fact is a smear test could save your life, so a few minutes discomfort is certainly worth the effort, plus they aren’t anywhere near as bad as people perceive them to be.
What happens is a nurse will ask you to sit on the examination bed, once you have removed your underwear, with your feet together and your knees apart. The nurse will then insert a plastic speculum inside the vagina to help them take swabs of cells from the cervix (the opening neck of the womb). This is similar to what happens during a full sexual health screening as you can see in this short film ‘STI MOT’, where Amy the practice nurse talks through the procedure and shows what happens. It is certainly worth a watch to put you at your ease.
The fact is smear tests are vastly important and help protect women against a preventable and treatable type of cancer.