Time to talk about cervical screening

Fife woman Adrina Wallace
Fife woman Adrina Wallace

A Fife woman has joined a national drive to get women talking about cervical screening after being treated for abnormal cells after a routine smear test.

Adrina Wallace (34) from Burntisland, added her support to the Flower campaign by urging women not to ignore their smear invite.

With six women being diagnosed with cervical cancer every week in Scotland, the new short film challenges the reasons women give for not attending their smear. Viewers are urged to ‘nip cervical cancer in the bud’, by not ignoring their next smear invite or contacting their GP practice if they missed their last smear.

The NHS Health Scotland and Scottish Government campaign is targeting those aged 25-35 in Scotland, as cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women of this age group.

Statistics highlight between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016, one in three women (33 per cent) aged 25-35 in Scotland didn’t go for their smear when invited.

A smear test can detect cells that could turn into cancer. The five minute test is the best way to protect women from the disease and helps save around 5,000 lives a year in the UK.

Adrina Wallace is backing the campaign in the hope of encouraging other women to take part in screening.

The mother-of-three had treatment to remove abnormal cells after attending a routine cervical screening appointment in 2014.

Adrina said: “I had always taken up the offer of screening and when I was sent a letter asking me to go for my regular smear test three years ago I didn’t hesitate in going.

“A few weeks after the appointment, I was recalled for a second smear because abnormal cells had been found.”

After Adrina’s second cervical screening appointment, she was asked to go to the hospital for treatment to remove the abnormal cells, which could turn into cancer, from her cervix.

Adrina explains: “The news that I would have to have treatment was a shock but I knew I had to get it done for my three girls. I wasn’t too sure what the treatment was going to involve but the nurses were so lovely and talked me through the procedure. It took a matter of minutes under local anaesthetic and I was in hospital for a further 20 minutes after treatment just to ensure I was ok after the anaesthetic.

“I had a check-up a few months after the treatment and the doctor told me I could go back to having regular screenings every three years.”

She added: “If I hadn’t gone for my smear, I don’t want to think about what could have happened. It was an emotional and scary time but I am so glad I went. It’s so important for women to go.”

Gill Dennes, nurse practitioner, NHS Fife, said: “No one looks forward to a smear appointment, but I want to reassure women that we’re trained to make the test go as smoothly as possible. “I’ve done hundreds of smear tests and afterwards, most women – especially those that it’s their first time - are surprised by how quickly it’s all over.“So, don’t ignore your next smear invite, and if you missed your last smear test, contact your GP practice to find a time that suits you.”

For more information on cervical screening, visit: getcheckedearly.org/cervical-cancer