Understanding the importance of cervical screening

Understanding the importance of cervical screening

Cervical screening plays a vital role in women's health, helping with early detection and prevention of cervical cancer. 

As it’s cervical screening awareness week, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of regular screenings and dispel any misconceptions surrounding this life-saving test.

We will explore the importance of cervical screening, debunk a few myths, and discuss why it is so important for women to prioritise their well-being by attending these appointments.

Some important reminders about cervical cancer and screening

Stats From Cancer Research UK

  • 1 in 142 UK females will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in their lifetime
  • 99.8% of cervical cancer cases diagnosed in the UK are preventable
  • A person’s risk of developing cervical cancer depends on many factors including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors
  • Each year almost 10% of all new cervical cancer cases in the UK are diagnosed in females aged over 75. This age group also sees 25% of the total number of cervical cancer deaths
  • Women in Northern Ireland are less likely to get tested than women elsewhere in the UK

Early detection literally saves lives

Cervical screening, also known as a smear test, is designed to detect early signs of abnormal cell changes in the cervix. By spotting any changes before they develop into cancer, screening can prevent the progression of the disease and quite literally be a lifesaver. Regular screenings mean you can monitor any cell abnormalities and access help or advice if needed. 

It’s important to check that older relatives or those who suffer from other health conditions are still attending appointments. They may require additional assistance or support in attending.

Addressing common concerns

Despite the life-saving benefits of cervical screening, lots of women have concerns or worries that prevent them from attending these vital appointments. 

Concerns, such as discomfort, embarrassment, or fear are really very common. The great news is that they can be easily solved with a bit of open communication with your nurse who will be able to talk you through the process.

If you don’t feel like you want to talk to your healthcare professional, chatting to family and friends can also be a great way to understand the process and can serve as a reminder to loved ones who are also due to get a screening.


Cervical screening can be particularly daunting for some people, especially those who have additional needs or specific requirements for the appointment.

It is possible to take someone with you to a cervical screening appointment if you need additional support or you should be able to speak to the healthcare provider about any additional needs or considerations ahead of your appointment. They will be able to make any necessary adjustments to make you as comfortable as possible during your appointment.

You can find plenty of information about cervical screening and how it works on the NHS website.

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