If you’re a UK woman aged 25-64, you’re probably well aware of the recommendation to attend smear tests. Assuming you’re registered with a GP, you’ll receive a letter every few years inviting you to a free cervical screening. (This will occur every three years if you’re aged 25-49, or every five if you’re 50-64.)
Of course, this invitation may not seem quite as tantalising as some of the others you receive in the post. However, its importance should not be underestimated. According to the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, skipping your smear test is one of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer.
“Cervical screening is the best protection against cervical cancer as it’s a test to detect abnormal cells on the cervix before they have developed into cervical cancer,” says Elisabeth Schuetz, spokesperson for the charity. “It prevents 75% of cases from developing and it is estimated that the screening programme saves around 5,000 lives in the UK every year.”
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