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People in NHS Grampian health board area urged to attend smear test

By Jonathan Clark

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PEOPLE eligible for cervical screening in the NHS Grampian health board area are being urged to go for a smear test when invited as part of a new campaign.

With two people dying from cervical cancer in the UK every day, NHS Grampian is backing the new Scottish Government campaign, encouraging people not to ignore their invite – even if they expect everything is fine.

Anyone aged between 25 and 64 with a cervix is invited to get a smear test. Screening is the best way to protect against cervical cancer, yet one in three women in Scotland still don’t go for the five-minute smear test that can stop cervical cancer before it starts.

The smear test is quick to do and can save lives.
The smear test is quick to do and can save lives.

In 2020/21, uptake among those eligible was just 69.3 per cent, compared to 73.1 per cent in 2018/19.

The campaign also provides tips and reassurance around the appointment to help people overcome barriers to attending, such as embarrassment or worry.

Professor Shantini Paranjothy, honorary consultant public health medicine at NHS Grampian said: “Going for your smear test is the best way to protect yourself against cervical cancer, so I’d encourage those eligible to attend when invited.

"The test checks for HPV and cell changes, helping identify those who are at higher risk of cervical cancer.

“We are keen to reassure those who may put off going for their smear that those who carry out the tests are trained to make you feel as comfortable as possible at the appointment.

"I’d encourage anyone worried to talk to your GP or nurse so they can give you the right support and help make the appointment better for you.”

Minister for Public Health Maree Todd added: “A five-minute smear test could save your life.

"Even if you expect everything is fine, it’s important not to ignore your invite, as the test can help stop cervical cancer before it starts.

“The test screens for human papillomavirus (HPV), the main cause of cervical cancer, and helps ensure cell changes are identified and treated earlier.

“This campaign has been developed to encourage more eligible people to attend and ultimately save more lives.

"It’s understandable some may feel anxious about the smear test itself, but information and advice are available to help make your appointment easier.”

For further information, visit getcheckedearly.org.

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