One of the UK’s largest private hospital providers, Spire Healthcare, is seeing a significant rise in enquiries from women requesting information and appointments for private smear tests throughout its 36 hospitals. Local hospital Spire Elland Hospital has witnessed an 100 % increase in enquiries this year compared to last year. Screens and consultations with gynaecologists are readily available and the results are obtained within five days, potentially helping to reduce anxiety and allowing women to positively take control of their health.
The NHS currently offers a national cervical cancer screening programme for women aged 25 and over. A woman is typically called for a screening appointment once every three to five years. Cancer Research UK* states that that changes in the cervix are more common in younger women resulting in a high return of abnormal rest results and high incidence of patient testing recall.
Director of Clinical Services for Spire Healthcare, Dr JJ de Gorter, comments:
“The proportion of women aged 25-30 having NHS cervical screening has fallen in recent years from 80% in 1995 to 70% in 2005/6**. However, such screening is extremely important and it is encouraging to see more women actively seeking private testing and being responsible for their gynaecological well-being. Though abnormalities are rare, treatment outcomes are better the earlier they are detected. Regular and consistent screening plays an important part in this. The recent increase in enquiries and appointments demonstrates just how women are taking cervical screening more seriously than ever before and the message about the importance being screened is getting heard.”
Spire has also identified a rise in the number of enquiries for the HPV (Human Papilloma virus) vaccination Gardasil, the cervical cancer and genital wart vaccine, which is currently not available on the NHS. Designed to prevent infection with HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18 it is recommended that Gardasil is given before HPV infection occurs in order to be effective, i.e. before adolescence and the onset of sexual activity.
If you would like further information on the vaccine, or testing for HPV, contact Spire EllandHospital on 01422 324065.