Cervical cancer claims many lives among young women across the north of Scotland every year.
But now, the benefits of going for a smear test are being highlighted as part of a new campaign to encourage women to join the initiative.
Practice nurses have added their voices in a bid to help reassure those who put off going for the test, after figures revealed that one in three (32.7%), aged 25-34 in the NHS Grampian area, didn’t go for their smear when invited in 2017-181.
The Scottish Government and NHS Scotland’s ‘Flower’ campaign, is urging women to tackle cervical cancer by getting the test done as regularly as possible.
With six females diagnosed with the condition every week in Scotland, the campaign aims to get them talking about cervical screening, boost uptake and save lives.
All women in Scotland aged 25 to 49 are offered a smear test every three years, while those aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years.
Hazel Linklater, NHS Grampian practice nurse at Macduff medical practice, said: “I know a smear test might not be the most pleasant of things to do, but it can help stop cervical cancer before it starts.
“I’m trained to make the smear test go smoothly and make women feel as comfortable as possible at the appointment.
“I’ve done hundreds of smear tests over the years, and would encourage any patient to talk to us or ask questions if they have concerns or worries.
“Please don’t put off going for your smear test when invited, or contact your GP practice if you missed your last one.”
‘Flower’ first launched in 2017, with one in three women in Scotland saying they had either attended a smear appointment or spoken to their GP as a result of the campaign.
Cabinet Secretary for Health & Sport Jeane Freeman said: “Cervical screening saves lives. The test is unique, because it can prevent the disease before it even begins, and treatment as a result of screening prevents eight out of ten cervical cancers from developing.
“I know there are reasons why women put off going for their smear, such as fear or embarrassment, but it’s vital women are aware that the five-minute test is the best way to protect themselves from cervical cancer.”
For further information, visit getcheckedearly.org/cervical-cancer