Cervical Smear Tests Information Ireland
Cervical Check is a national screening programme to control and prevent cervical cancer. The National Cervical Screening Programme is part of the well being and health division of the health service executive. It is government funded and it offers women aged 25 to 60 years free smear tests. It is recommended that you have a smear test regularly every 3 years. To avail of the test, you must arrange with your GP for an appointment and they must be registered with a cervical check nationwide. If you have already participated and you are registered with the cervical check programme, you will automatically be reminded by a letter when your due for your next smear test.
Why do you need a Smear Test?
Regular smear tests are needed as they are the main way of detecting the HPV Virus. The test detects abnormal cells in the cervix before they can become cancerous. If you have or have been sexually active you are at risk of contracting the HPV virus. It is recommended that you have regular smear tests. Cervical cancer very rarely shows symptoms, a lot of them will clear up themselves, but most will persist and develop into cervical cancer. It is an essential part of your cervical cancer protection.
How is the Smear Test Performed?
A smear test only takes a few minutes to perform and it is a very simple procedure. To detect any changes in the cells of the cervix, this is the most effective way of doing so. During the procedure, your doctor will use a small brush to gently remove a sample of cells from the cervix. The sample is sent to a laboratory to be examined and checked. To a lot of people, it can be a little embarrassing, but it will save your life. There is no pain or risks involved during this procedure.
Results and follow up
If your smear test comes back as abnormal, there is no need to panic. A lot of the abnormalities may go away naturally, and you will be advised to have a repeat smear test right away. The changes in the cervix cells are rated low and high grade. Other abnormalities will need more tests and a colposcopy may be required at a hospital clinic. A biopsy sample of the cervical cells may also be taken for examination. If a follow up is needed your doctor will recommend further treatment. No test is 100% accurate but it will greatly reduce your risk.
HPV Vaccine (Human Papillomavirus)
HPV is given to young girls to protect them from developing cervical cancer when they are adults. It is offered to all girls who attend from first-year second level schools to protect them from cervical cancer. It is free of charge to all girls in 1st year of second level school. 7 out of 10 cervical cancers are protected by the HPV Vaccine. It is important for young girls to be vaccinated and to get regular smear tests as an adult.
Benefits of having a Cervical Smear Test
- Having a regular smear test will detect if there are any cell abnormalities early on before cancer has had any chance of developing. Cancer being found by cervical screening is very rare.
- Having a smear test can detect cervical cancer before it spreads which will make it easier to treat.
- It is proven to save thousands of lives.
- If the cancer is detected early, it means less treatment and less time spent in recovery.
- It will reassure you that your cell results are normal
- The better your chances of survival, the early you detect cancer therefore attending regular smear tests is important.
View our service page for more info: https://www.aungierclinic.ie/cervical-smear-tests/