MSP calls on women to go for smear test during awareness week

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has called on women to ensure they have their smear tests to ensure any abnormal cells are caught early.

It comes as Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust highlights the impact of treatment and its side effects during Cervical Screening awareness week (June 10-16).

More than 200,000 women are diagnosed with cell changes each year in the UK following a smear test.

Treatment for cell changes is highly successful and it is estimated 80% of those treated will not experience a recurrence.

But new research by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has found that that some women having treatment for cervical changes are not informed of the potential side effects.

According to a new report, ‘Not so simple. The impact of cervical changes and treatment’, around one in five of those surveyed said possible impacts of treatment were not explained to them.

Around 86% of those questioned said they experienced bleeding or spotting for up to six weeks, while one in seven were unaware of this common side effect.

The charity wants to see standardised information from the medical profession about potential side effects of treatment.

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP said: “A cervical smear takes only minutes and can be life saving for many women who may present with abnormal cells.

“While many women feel nervous going for the test it is important we encourage one another to do so.

“More than 20,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with cell changes from their smear test every year.

“It can be a confusing diagnosis for many and I fully support Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and their campaign to make women more aware of the side effects of treatment. While unavoidable, it is important we make women aware while they are undergoing treatment.

“I would encourage all women in the North-East and across Scotland to go for their smear tests and not to delay.”

Rebecca Shoosmith, Head of Support Services, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “While for many women diagnosis and treatment is relatively straightforward, it is clear that for others it is the opposite. The psychological impact can be significant and feeling uninformed will only add to women feeling less able to seek support.

“While appointment time in colposcopy is limited, there is a clear need for greater discussion about side effects. Other health professionals such as GPs and practice nurses should also take the time to ask questions and ascertain if further support is needed.”