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I guess everyone has familiar thoughts which come to mind when one is en route to a cervical screening appointment.
I bet they range from the mundane – “will the room be cold?” - To – “it’s fantastic the NHS offers the chance to have cervical screening free of charge”.
I imagine that a small, but significant group of women will walk through the door as I often did thinking – what am I doing to say when they ask that question.
You might have seen recently in the news that there is going to be a pilot scheme in London looking at the best way to offer self-sampling to women as part of the cervical screening programme. We know that lots of people have questions about self-sampling and about this pilot, so hopefully the below will help.
Today in parliament, MPs debate the age at which the cervical screening (a smear test) programme begins. The debate is taking place because of a petition which was created by Natasha Sale and gathered over 160,000 signatures. Natasha Sale was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 28 and very sadly passed away at the age of 31.
Natasha’s story is incredibly sad. We are thinking of her family and friends who have had to go through this.
Smear tests can be difficult for a variety of reasons, but some women can face additional barriers to getting tested. This includes women with a range of physical disabilities such as muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis. While in some areas women are able to access smear tests, whether through home visits, equipped GPs or provision to attend in other settings such hospitals, this is unequal across the county and mean some women are missing out on tests that could potentially save their lives.
Kate Sanger, Head of Communications and Public Affairs at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, wrote this blog for The Eve Appeal about the recent cervical screening failure news.
You may have seen the news last week about an error within the cervical screening programme resulting in information letters not being sent out.
It was reported that, unfortunately, earlier this year reminder letters were not sent to 43,220 women. What is more concerning though is that 4,508 results letters were not sent out.
Please be aware that this blog contains content that may be distressing to read.
There are lots reasons why women and people with a cervix find it hard to go for cervical screening (smear tests). The Hawa Trust work with communities affected by FGM and we spoke with Hawa Sesay, their Executive Director, about the experience of screening for women who have undergone FGM.