Women urged to have a smear test

Fears about COVID-19 are discouraging women from attending cervical cancer screening appointment.

Maya Jama has been one of the many famous faces urging fans to book smear tests after doctor finds ‘abnormal cells’.

‘I know it seems uncomfortable and awkward, but it’s not that bad and it’s so important,’ said the TV presenter in a recent interview.

In the UK, the NHS cervical screening programme begins at 25. Appointments are every three years between the ages of 25 and 49, then every five years until 64.

If someone receives an abnormal result, or requires treatment for abnormal cells, they will be referred to colposcopy for diagnostic tests. If treatment is required, they will be followed up in colposcopy at six months and returned to routine screening if all is well at this stage.

It is important to still attend routine appointments if and when possible, even during the pandemic.You’ll be sent an invitation letter in the post when it’s time to book your cervical screening appointment.

Your letter will tell you where you can go for cervical screening and how to book. Most cervical screening is done in a GP surgery by a female nurse or doctor.

It is estimated that more than 2 million people across the UK have been unable to access screening or cancer treatment over the past few months as the NHS has responded to COVID-19.

Health services will come under “huge pressure” to work through backlogs of missed smear tests during the Covid-19 lockdown, a charity has warned.

Around 600,000 tests would have been carried out in the UK in April and May last year had services been operating normally, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust says, but many were cancelled or delayed.

That is in addition to a backlog of 1.5 million appointments missed annually. Fears of catching Covid-19 have also put some women off booking tests.

Please contact your local GP surgery for any further questions.

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