Following a series of drop-in cervical screening sessions in 2017, NHS Tayside offered Dundee women another opportunity to get their smear at Ninewells Hospital yesterday (Tuesday).
Women over the age of 25 who were overdue or had never had a cervical smear test were able to drop-in to the hospital to have their smear carried out. They also had the opportunity to ask questions or discuss any concerns they may have about cervical screening. Almost 50 women attended the session with 40 smears carried out.
There was also a stand in the main concourse in the afternoon giving information and advice to patients, staff and visitors.
A series of drop-in sessions were held across Tayside in January last year, followed by further events in Angus between October and December, which saw 121 women who were overdue their smear come forward for screening.
Cervical screening saves around 5,000 lives in the UK every year and prevents 8 out of 10 cervical cancers from developing.
In Scotland, all women between the ages of 25 and 50 are offered a cervical screening test every three years and those between 50 and 65 are offered screening every five years.
Lead colposcopist Dr Kalpana Ragupathy said, “Cervical cancer affects almost 1 in 100 women and Tayside has the highest incidence of cervical cancer in Scotland. In terms of cervical screening uptake, Tayside is amongst the lowest five health boards.
“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.
“Precancerous changes precede cervical cancer by 10-15 years. Regular smear tests pick up these changes and treatment reduces the risk of cervical cancer by 95%.”
Gynae cancer lead Dr Wendy McMullen added, “Surface changes that need treating can almost always be treated in the clinic, either at the first or second visit. The examination takes about five minutes and the treatment, if needed, about another five 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 realise that some women have particular difficulties with examination but it is so important that these women come for their smear tests and follow up. It is so sad to see women having life changing treatment for a cancer that could have been prevented by a five minute smear test and a half hour visit to the clinic. Please put it on your list for 2018.”
Want to know more about your smears?
- Talk to your nurse or GP
- Like our cervical screening page at facebook.com/beclearhaveyoursmear
- Visit nhsinform.scot or call 0800 224488 (textphone 18001 0800 22 44 88). The helpline is open every day 8am-10pm and also provides an interpreting service.
- Visit Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust at jostrust.org.uk or call 0808 802800