Published on 24/01/2012
January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, but almost a third of women in the UK say they have never been for any type of screening, including cervical smear tests.
Around 2,900 women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year. The Papanicolau test (aka Pap smear), is a simple test that is vital in detecting abnormal, pre-cancerous cells which may lead to cervical cancer.
Thanks to the introduction of the smear test, cervical cancer is now one of the most preventable cancers, with deaths from the disease falling over the last 25 years.
However, Bupa has revealed that 29 per cent of women in the UK say that they have never been to a cervical screening, despite all women over the age of 25 being invited to have one by their GP.
The private healthcare provider says that many women are put off going for a screening because of lack of information on what it involves, and the anxiety of dealing with abnormal results.
Dr Katrina Herren, Medical Director, Bupa Health and Wellbeing, said: "Cervical screening detects pre-cancerous cells which can develop into cervical cancer.
“Early detection of pre-cancerous cells is vitally important in preventing cervical cancer so if your test does detect these abnormal cells, don't panic. It means that the cells which could develop into the cancer have been detected and can be monitored closely or treated to prevent them developing into cancer."
A cervical smear test is just one of the tests included in Bupa's female health assessment for women who are primarily concerned with their breast and gynaecological health.
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