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Screening for cervical cancer

At What Age should Screening for Cervical Cancer begin?

What is Cervical Screening?

Cervical screening is a medical test that screens for cervical cancer, one of the most common cancers among women. The test can help detect abnormal cells on the cervix before they turn into cancer. 

Cervical screening can help reduce cancer risk by detecting precancerous abnormalities that can take years to develop. After repeated screenings, chances are low for an abnormality being missed because they often last long before becoming cancer. 

Cervical screening is currently at the age of 25:

According to the screening establishment, there has been an increase in cervical cancer cases among young women because of changes in their sexual behavior. However, these arguments seem hollow when we consider how smear tests work and what is known about the natural history of cervical cancer.

How about the HPV Vaccine?

HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the UK. It can be prevented by getting vaccinated against HPV for free on the NHS, and it helps protect women from cervical cancer as they grow older. The first vaccination is offered in year eight or nine and the second 6-12 months after. However, many young girls do not take advantage of it, and even among those who are vaccinated, screening remains important because only a 50% risk reduction can be achieved.

New initiatives to use HPV screening as a primary test instead of cervical smear tests aim to eliminate women at risk for abnormal changes in the cervix. However, it is important that secondary testing be effective because many women will screen positive but not have abnormalities so that any potential change would go unnoticed without proper follow-up screenings.

The best way for young women to protect themselves from cervical cancer is through HPV vaccinations and regular screenings. Women should begin these tests at about 20 years of age, but if they have begun having sex earlier than 18, it would be wise to start screening much sooner.

If you would like to know more about cervical cancer, consult with the gynecologist. Mrs. Sarah Hussain is a leading female gynecologist in London treating different gynae issues. Request a call for treatment.