Skip to the content

Menu

Cervical test take-up encouraged, following covid

GPs across Berkshire West are now starting to contact patients who were due a routine cervical test and had this postponed in the wake of the Covid outbreak. They will be inviting them to the surgery for an appointment and stressing the importance of having the test which can stop cancer before it starts.

Two women die every day from cervical cancer in England. And while it’s estimated that cervical screening saves around 5,000 lives each year, screening uptake has been low over the last year or so, with one in four women in the UK not attending their test

Cervical screening is offered to everyone with a cervix, between the ages of 25 and 64, every three or five years depending on their age.

The screening test lasts just a few minutes and regular screening can help stop cervical cancer before it starts by preventing potentially harmful cells from developing.

Health officials have drawn up advice to help make the screening test more comfortable. This includes:

  • Talking to your nurse – they are trained and experienced in how to make your test comfortable.
  • Wearing a loose skirt or dress – you may feel more covered during your appointment.

Dr Kajal Patel, Berkshire West CCG Cancer Lead, said: “It was unfortunate that during the Covid outbreak the NHS had to pause some services to dedicate itself to caring for patients with the virus. However, now the numbers are falling we can turn our attention back to other really important work like cancer screening and I’d urge everyone who is eligible for a test, or had theirs postponed during Covid, to please make an appointment.

“I know some women are reluctant to go for a test. It could be that they are nervous about what happens, worried in case the test shows up some abnormalities, or it could be for cultural reasons. We want to reassure them that the tests are generally straightforward, they’re carried out by very understanding and professional healthcare staff, and they really can be a matter of life and death,” she added.

If you need medical help and are unsure what to do, call NHS 111 for help and advice. They are available 24 hours a day.