(Picture: Getty)Today is the 10 year anniversary of the death of Jade Goody due to cervical cancer.
Jade was just 27, and had two young sons. However sad this may be, she inspired a number of people to go to their cervical screening, with demand going up by one fifth.
In recent years, however, uptake rates have dipped once again and are at their lowest for 20 years. Two women die from the disease every day in England.
Some reports have suggested that it’s due to fear of pain or embarrassment. This absolutely might be the case sometimes, but it’s all likely that many people have simply forgotten when their smear test is due, or missed their most recent invitation.
If that’s the case for you, don’t worry at all. You can still have your test.
How to find out when you’re next due for a smear test
You’ll be invited for a smear test every three to five years from the age of 25 until around 64. A letter will come from your doctor urging you to book one and giving you instructions on how to do so.
You can find out when your next one is due by remembering when your last one was, and checking it against your age.
If you’re under 25, you’ll be invited just before your 25th birthday. Between 25 and 29, it’s every three years, and for those between 50 and 64 it’s every five years.
For those experiencing any symptoms, however, there is no need to wait until your next scheduled screening. Simply call your GP to book.
Common cervical cancer symptoms
Bleeding during or after sex
Bleeding between your periods
Bleeding after you have been through the menopause
Pain and discomfort during sex
Unusual or unpleasant vaginal discharge
Pain in your lower back or pelvis.
How to book a smear test if you’ve missed your invitation
As said above, you should always book a smear if you are experiencing symptoms.
Even if you’re not, though, you should re-book if you missed your most recent one.
Call your GP and let them know what you’re booking for. Ideally you should choose a time two days or more before or after your period, and two or more days after using vaginal medications, lubricants or creams.
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