Smear Test now available in Tunbridge Wells

Cervical screening at Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Cervical screenings can help to save lives and regular testing is the only way to detect abnormalities before they could become more serious. Every year, five million women in the UK are invited to attend a smear test. In fact, screenings are responsible for saving 5000 lives a year, so it really is worth checking the health of your cervix regularly.

Cervical screening is used for the purposes of checking for irregular cells in a woman’s cervix. If left untreated, these cells could develop into cervical cancer. However, early detection of abnormal cells can help prevent them from increasing in number. Most commonly affecting women aged between 25-49, cervical cancer is the third most common type of gynaecological cancer. Approximately 55 women are diagnosed with Cervical Cancer every single week. Once diagnosed, about 75% of women will survive the disease, with a survival rate of women under 40 being over 85%. However, cervical cancer is accountable for nearly 1 in 10 deaths in women worldwide.

Cervical Screenings are simple, very quick and highly accurate. They take just a few minutes to carry out. The procedure involves inserting a speculum into the vagina, making the cervix more visible to see. A brush will be used to take a sample of your cervical cells. Your sample will then be immersed in a preservative liquid and sent off for analysis. Following detection, the advice is provided, with specialist gynecological referrals made where necessary.

When abnormal cells are found, in many cases they will go back to normal on their own, but occasionally, they may continue to develop abnormally. Cervical cancer is easily preventable if abnormal changes are detected and treated early. When attending your first screening, it’s always a good idea to bring along a family member or friend who may help you feel more at ease.

Preparing for your smear test

Although it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious before your smear test, there really is no need. The test is very quick and will be over before you know it. The benefits of having a smear test really do outweigh a few minutes of slight discomfort.

To help you feel as comfortable and prepared as possible, these are a few important things to remember ahead of your cervical screening:
  • Don’t have sexual intercourse for 24 hours beforehand
  • Try to arrange your appointment during the middle of your menstrual cycle (usually 14 days from the start of your last period). This can help to produce a better sample of cells.
  • If you’re feeling nervous, please do let your practitioner know.
  • Make sure to relax as this will help to limit any discomfort you may feel.
  • Take someone you trust along with you on the day.

Testing for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is included should the Smear Test results show an abnormality. If HPV test results come back positive, the sub-type of HPV can be provided to help determine if the strain is low or high risk.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a viral infection which affects the linings of the body cavities and the skin. There are usually no symptoms of the infection and it is transmitted via skin to skin contact.

Eight out of ten people will be infected from the virus at some point in their lives in the UK. The virus mainly occurs on fingers, hands, mouth and genitals. There are many different types of HPV and while many of these are harmless, around 30 of them can cause cancer (cervical cancer).

Having a routine smear test is a vital part of women’s healthcare and having it done privately has a number of benefits.

  • You can book your appointment at your convenience.
  • The test results normally come back up to 72 hours after your test.
  • We can organise a quick gynaecological referral should you require one.
  • Weekend appointments are available.
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