Guess what popped though my letter box this week? Hurrah… a reminder that my next cervical screen is due. Surely not. That thing comes around far too fast. Where did the last three years go? Sure enough it’s due and yes it’s a faff to add yet another thing into the diary and sort childcare but I’ll do it. I’ll never skip a smear and here’s why.
OK so your taxes pay for it, but that money is gone whether you go for the screening or not. Think about it for a moment. You are being offered a service that, were you living in another country, you just wouldn’t get. You are being given the chance to check that everything is good down there and flag up any problems before you even knew you had them. For free. Not everyone has that privilege.
Don’t miss your chance
Around the world, millions of women develop cervical cancer and only discover it when symptoms are severe and it’s too late to treat. If I happen to be one of the unlucky ones at least I’ll know I caught it as early as possible and will be giving myself the best possible chance to fight it.
Six years ago a friend’s mum turned 50 just a few weeks before my mum. Her mum had already had a letter asking her to come for a breast screening. My mum hadn’t and so I mentioned it. I’ll always be thankful that I did. That screening showed she had breast cancer. Luckily, it was caught early and after chemo she was given the all clear. This is another example of why we need to grab our free screenings. Who knows what might have happened if that routine screening hadn’t happened?
Just do it
Please don’t find excuses. Just do it. Do it for yourself and do it for your family. A slightly uncomfortable and awkward few minutes might save your life. If you want to share the message further, this week is smear for smear week. All over Twitter you’ll see women smearing their lipstick to raise awareness for cervical cancer. Join in and take a #smearforsmear selfie.