This is your sign to book your Cervical Check

Ireland and the UK have one of the highest rates of cervical cancer in Western Europe with 292 people on average being diagnosed each year in Ireland, and 3,200 on average being diagnosed each year in the UK. Majority of the time it affects menstruators between 30 - 50 years old but it can affect people under 25 in extremely rare cases. In almost all cases (92%) of cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause. 

What to learn more about HPV? Check out our Blog 

CervicalCheck is a national screening programme in Ireland that aims to prevent cervical cancer. The programme provides free cervical screening tests to people with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 65.

What’s new with CervicalCheck?

From March 2020, CervicalCheck no longer conducts a smear test but instead, a HPV test. This is because studies have shown that the results are better if you test for HPV in cervical cells first. For example with a smear test, 1 in 200 women will receive a false negative result. When compared to a HPV Test, this rate considerably improves to 1 in 500 receiving a false negative result.

So all in all, CervicalCheck will still check for abnormal cells, but how they do it is slightly different. 

What to expect:

If based in Ireland, you should register with CervicalCheck when you turn 25 to avail of the free service. You’ll receive a letter in the post that you can bring to your GP when getting your HPV test. 

If you’re based in the UK, you'll be sent an invitation letter in the post when it's time to book your cervical screening appointment. Your sample will be sent away to a lab to be tested and depending on the result, you’ll be divided into 2 categories: low risk and high risk.

If the result is negative they’re categorised as low risk and won’t require a further test for 3-5 years. 

However, if an abnormality is found, this is classified as high risk and you may be sent for further investigation to a colposcopy clinic. Approx. 80% of women referred to a colposcopy clinic won’t require further treatment but they will be required to check in either bi-annually or annually. 

You can check when you’re due your next HPV Test by entering your PPS and date of birth on the CervicalCheck website

What’s it like getting a Cervical Check? 

During cervical screening a small sample of cells is taken from your cervix for testing. For most people, the test shouldn’t be painful, but it’s normal to find it a bit uncomfortable. Usually the most uncomfortable bit is when the speculum is opened. Having your cervix brushed to grab some cells can feel a bit strange, but shouldn’t hurt. 

However, in some cases, people will find a smear test painful but the test itself should take less than 5 minutes. The whole appointment should only take about 10 minutes and it's usually done by a female nurse or doctor.

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer:

Not everyone with cervical cancer will display symptoms, that’s why keeping up to date with your HPV Test is SO important. However, there are some common symptoms to look out for;

  • Pelvic Pain 
  • Unusual Vaginal Bleeding- you know what is normal for your body so if you experience usual bleeding between periods or bleeding during or after sex, it’s worth keeping an eye on it
  • Pain after or during sex 
  • Vaginal spotting or unusual discharge 

Notice anything about the symptoms we’ve listed? Yep, your right, they are super common and could be caused by many other common conditions that are not related to cancer. So, if you’re concerned at all, or notice any changes that are unusual FOR YOU then contact your GP. Do not wait for your CervicalCheck appointment. Early detection for any condition is key.

What to learn more about HPV? Check out our Blog 

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