Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35 years old. Cervical cancer can develop when cells on the surface of the cervix (neck of the womb) begin to grow and divide abnormally. A virus called HPV (human papilloma virus) can cause these changes that may, in a few cases, turn into cervical cancer.
Most cases of cervical cancer could be prevented if women go for regular cervical screening (a smear test). By going for a regular smear test you can check the health of your cervix. The test can help to find any abnormal cell changes in the cervix BEFORE they have a chance to develop into cancer. By finding these abnormal changes early, they can be successfully treated.
The cervical screening (smear) test
The test is very simple and only takes around five minutes. It is done in private at your doctors surgery or local health clinic. You can ask to see a female doctor or nurse. The test should not be painful although some women do find it slightly uncomfortable.
The doctor or nurse will take a sample by using a thin plastic stick with a small brush (cervix sampling device) to pick up cells from the surface of your cervix which are then placed in a small bottle before being sent to the laboratory for testing.
You will get your results in 2 weeks.
Most women have normal results and will not need another test for three to five years. Your test may show that changes have been found in the cells of your cervix. These changes act as an early warning sign that cervical cancer might develop in the future. The abnormal cells are not cancer and can be treated easily at an outpatient clinic.
If you have any concerns about the cervical screening test or your results you can talk it over with your doctor or nurse, or by calling NHS Direct: 0845 46 47.
Cervical screening can prevent around 75% of cancers in women who attend regularly.
It’s very important to go for regular cervical screening (a smear test), even if you’re no longer sexually active or have gone through the menopause. Invitation letters are sent to women aged between 25 and 64 years old. Women between the ages of 25 and 49 are invited for cervical screening every three years. Women aged 50 to 64 are invited every 5 years. If you are aged between 25 and 64 and have never been screened make an appointment now. This test is the best way of checking the health of your cervix (neck of the womb).
Most women go for their smear test at their doctors surgery or a local health/ sexual health/ family planning clinic. You can ask to see a female doctor or nurse.
Listed below are additional local health clinics in Portsmouth which offer cervical screening.
Cosham Health Centre, Vectis Way, Portsmouth, PO6 3AW.
Tel: 02392 219888
Wednesday and Thursday 1-3pm
Contraception and Sexual Health (C&SH) clinic
2nd Floor, St Mary Hospital, Milton Road, Portsmouth, PO3 6DP.
Tel: 0300 300 2016
Walk in clinics - 4:00pm – 7:00pm
For other local health clinics which offer cervical screening, check out the following website: www.letstalkaboutit.nhs.uk/clinics-current-all.asp
If you have any concerns about the cervical screening test or your results you can talk it over with your doctor or nurse, or by calling NHS Direct: 0845 46 47
To read an information leaflet about cervical screening click here
To read an information leaflet about abnormal cervical screening test results click here
For further information about the national cervical screening programme, visit http://www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk