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There are many reasons which can make attending smear tests difficult. Things such as fear, embarrassment, anxiety and a previous bad experience can all mean even taking the first step to book an appointment can be hard. However another barrier to smear tests is physically being able to access the test and more and more women are telling us that they are struggling to get appointments.
If you have had a bad experience at a smear test, it can understandably have a negative impact on how you feel about going for a test in the future.
While smear tests are not pleasant and can be uncomfortable or difficult for many reasons, the majority of women do not have a bad experience. When women do have bad experiences, it is sometimes a combination of several factors instead of just one thing, these reasons can be very personal and varied.
As part of our new blog series "Let's talk about it" Louise Cadman, Research Nurse Consultant at Queen Mary University of London and on the Management Committee of the My Body Back Project, addresses some of the issues around having a smear test after experiencing sexual violence (***Trigger warning: this blog is about sexual violence***).
As a charity we are focused on the day that no woman dies from cervical cancer. We know that day can come and we want to get there as soon as we can, so that no woman has to face a life threatening cervical diagnosis, no woman has to endure invasive treatment, no woman has to suffer from the long term physical and psychological effects of treatment.
While we work towards this day, we know that many woman are not receiving the support, information and care that they need. This is not acceptable.