Cervical screening is used to identify early cell changes in the cervix which may lead to pre-cancerous cells (that may eventually develop into cancerous cells).
Cervical screening helps prevent cervical cancer.
The Human Papilomavirus (HPV) is very common in the population. HPV are a group of more than 100 viruses that usually cause no harm, though a few high risk types can cause genital warts or cancer. Two strains of HPV (HPV 16 and HPV 18) are known to be responsible for 70% of all cases of cervical cancer.
Almost all sexually active persons will acquire HPV, this does not have to be penetrative sex. HPV can be contracted from:
- skin-to-skin contact of the genital area;
- vaginal, anal or oral sex; or
- the sharing of sex toys.
There is no treatment for HPV as most infections do not cause any problems and self-resolve within 2 years. However, treatment is required if you are exposed to the high risk types of HPV – the cervical cells taken during a smear test will be checked for these.
The most invasive cervical cancers are found in women who do not have regular screening.
All women aged 25 – 64 years old are encouraged to take up cervical screening; invites are sent by letter via the mail. Anyone who has not received a letter to participate in the cervical screening programme, or is worried they may have been missed, should call: 56004698. An administrator will be able to assist with any concerns or booking of appointments.
Those who have participated will automatically be added to a recall system:
- 25-50 years of age – every 3 years
- 51-64 years of age – every 5 years
Reduce the risk of cervical cancer
- Take part in regular Cervical Screening
- Use condoms, they do not cover all the skin around the genitals but will reduce exposure to HPV.
- Get the HPV vaccine / encourage your children to do so, read more in the leaflet HERE.