Last night I had the privilege to go along to the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust event hosted by Zoe Griffin at The Strand Gallery, central London and I have to say, what I learned was shocking!
I wasn’t the only one to attend with Lauren Goodger from The Only Way is Essex and Made in Chelsea girl Lucy Watson also taking an interest in the battle against cervical cancer.
Now we all know that cervical cancer is a cancer of the cervix, but what the majority of us may not know is that it is one of the biggest killers in Britain – with majority of women aged between 30 and 39 being diagnosed, however the number of women under 30 being diagnosed is increasing.
One of the most famous incidents was back in 2009 when Jade Goody, 27, sadly passed away after her treatment failed.
So how can we try and prevent this getting any worse?
Well there is a simple answer.
Women over the age of 25 are advised to attend a cervical screening every three years (better known as a smear test).
Sounds scary, I know, but think about it ladies, it is well worth the 15 minutes and it’s really not that bad.
It doesn’t hurt and it’s not going to kill you, all I would say is that it’s not pleasant but it may be needed as it could save your life!
Now this was a lot to take in from one single talk, so I spoke to sex, relationship and body language expert Tracy Cox, who has had cervical cancer and come out the other side.
I asked her for her views on what can be done to help prevent young women being diagnosed.
The screening tests are the single most effective thing you can do to prevent cervical cancer. So your only choices are be celibate or get screened.
Well, unless you’re a nun or you haven’t met that special person yet, the chances of one being celibate are very low.
So I went on to ask what advice she would give to women who are afraid to get screened:
Screening for cervical cancer doesn’t mean you have it. All it does is test for abnormal cells which could be anything from thrush to sores and it doesn’t hurt, just a weird feeling.
Now, not all of us are at that stage yet, but there still are things you can do and one of them is having a HPV vaccination.
It doesn’t stop you ever getting cervical cancer, so still go for your smear test when you reach 25, but as HPV causes 99.7% of cervical cancer in those diagnosed it is worth having.
Also if you’re aged 12-17 then the vaccine is free but if your aged 18 to 24 then speak to your GP or for more information click here.
Similarly, if you have a loved one who is suffering with cervical cancer or if you want some advice and want to get involved visit Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s only charity that support women and their families affected by cervical cancer.