The importance of regular smears cannot be overestimated – having a smear can potentially save your life. In the UK, approximately nine cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed every day.

A smear is a cervical screening test which can detect abnormal cells on your cervix. These abnormal cells have the potential to lead to cancer if left untreated. A smear test is the best way to identify any abnormalities. Women’s health charity, Wellbeing of Women, spoke to Dr Fiona McCarthy, Consultant Medical Oncologist, ahead of cervical cancer prevention week, and asked all the question you wanted to know about smear tests.

Do I need a smear?

Women between the ages of 25 to 49 years should have a smear test every 3 years. For women aged 50-64, smear tests should be performed every 5 years. Smear tests are available on the NHS and you will usually receive a letter reminding you when you require one. However, if you have not had a smear or are unable to remember when you last had one, please contact your GP.

What happens during the smear test?

When you attend your appointment for your smear, you will be asked to take off your underwear, lie on the treatment couch and you will be given a sheet to cover your lower half. …

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