The importance of cervical screening
04 January 2022
Smear tests have been used for screening of cervical cancer for some time and they are great at allowing an assessment of the health of your cervix (the neck of your womb). It is not for diagnosing cancer but a screening test to help prevent cancer. Cancer UK figures show that there are around 3,200 new cervical cancer cases in the UK every year, that's nearly 9 every day (2016-2018).
There is a National Screening Programme that recommends women are offered screening every three or five years depending on their age. Women aged 25 to 49 are invited for routine screening every 3 years, whereas those aged 50 to 64 are invited for routine screening every 5 years.
During a smear test, a small sample of cells are taken from the cervix and examined for certain types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). These "high risk" types of HPV can cause changes in the cervix. If your smear is negative for HPV, then you do not need anything further. However, if HPV is found, then the sample is checked further and you may need further treatment or investigation to reduce the chance of cervical cancer.
Cancer UK figures show that cervical cancer is the commonest cancer in women under the age of 35 yet government figures show the uptake of cervical smears is falling in women between the ages of 25-49 years since March 2011.
At Spire Gatwick Park Hospital we can offer a private GP consultation to suit your needs and carry out a smear in a sensitive and caring manner by a skilled GP. The results are usually available within two weeks and your GP can discuss these further if the need be. This offers you an opportunity to feel reassured that your cervical screening is up to date. Enquiries can be made by contacting Spire Gatwick Park Hospital on 01293 778906.