Health experts are urging those eligible to attend their smear test as it could save lives. 

A new government campaign backed by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is encouraging people not to ignore their invite to attend a smear even if they suspect everything is fine. 

The five minute procedure is the most effective way to identify those at higher risk early and detect pre-cancerous cells. Cervical cancer is largely preventable, and a smear test can stop it before it starts.

Dr Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Going for your smear test is the best way to protect yourself against cervical cancer, so I’d encourage those eligible to attend when invited. The test checks for HPV and cell changes, helping identify those who are at higher risk of cervical cancer.”

Six women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every week, and two women die from the disease every day. It is emphasised that those aged between 25 and 64 should attend the smear even if they have had the HPV vaccine. 

Minister for Public Health Maree Todd said: “A five-minute smear test could save your life.  Even if you expect everything is fine, it’s important not to ignore your invite, as the test can help stop cervical cancer before it starts.

“The test screens for human papillomavirus (HPV), the main cause of cervical cancer, and helps ensure cell changes are identified and treated earlier.   

“This campaign has been developed to encourage more eligible people to attend and ultimately save more lives.  It’s understandable some may feel anxious about the smear test itself, but information and advice are available to help make your appointment easier.”

A major part of the campaign is to destigmatise the embarrassment and fear that puts so many off. It is estimated that one in three people still avoid their invite. 

Linda continues: “We’re keen to reassure those who may put off going for their smear that those who carry out the tests are trained to make you feel as comfortable as possible at the appointment.  The test is quicker and easier than many people think and the nurse or doctor undertaking the smear will be able to reassure you and explain about what to expect.”