Data reveals the East Midlands areas with the lowest cervical screening test uptake

Data reveals the East Midlands areas with the lowest cervical screening test uptake

We all know that cervical screening is important.

Recent data however revealed that just 60% of Leicester’s population eligible for a cervical screening test attended their screening, which is the lowest uptake in the East Midlands region. 

Among the areas joining Leicester at the bottom of the table were Nottingham and Derby with 64 and 69% of 25-64-year-old’s attending screening tests, according to the most recent data ending in the year March 2022.

Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland had the highest percentage of eligible people attending their screening tests at 78%, 77% and 76% respectively. Across England, the uptake for smear tests for 69.9%

Commenting on the data, Dr Asiya Maula, Director and GP at Leicester’s The Health Suite medical clinic said: “Attending a cervical smear test can be daunting, due to fears of the screening test being a painful procedure, fears of a positive result and for others not fully understanding what the test is looking for. In some cases it may be as simple as not clearly understanding what happens during a cervical smear test, these are some of the reasons which may explain Leicester’s lower rate of screening uptake.

“There is a common misconception that a cervical smear test is a cancer test, whereas this is not the case. The test is actually used to detect early abnormalities of the cervix which, if untreated, could lead to cervical cancer in the future. This is the main reason why it’s so important to attend a smear test when you receive a letter inviting you to make an appointment.”

Feeling anxious about what to expect at a cervical screening test?

Dr Maula outlines what happens at an appointment.

“Your nurse will ask you to undress from the waist down and lie on the examination bench”, Dr Maula explains, “You should then bend your knees, put your ankles together and let your knees fall open in a butterfly motion. A doctor or nurse will then insert a speculum instrument into your vagina. The speculum is inserted whilst closed and then the nurse will gently open it to access the cervix. 

The nurse will then use a thin plastic stick with a small brush at the end to gently scrape some cells from the surface of the cervix. This is not painful. The cells that are obtained on the brush are sent away to be examined in the laboratory.”

Ways you can put yourself at ease during a cervical screening test include wearing something you can keep on during the examination such as a skirt, bringing someone with you for support,, and asking the nurse to use a smaller speculum if you are experiencing discomfort.

“Ultimately, there is no need to feel embarrassed during a cervical screening test”, Dr Maula adds, “as the test is for the benefit of your future health. Medical professionals see many patients per day for various reasons and you are one of many also attending a cervical screening appointment on the day you decide to go.

“We are hoping that this year we will see more people in Leicester and beyond attending their cervical screening tests to look after their gynaecological health.”

To book your cervical screening test, visit the Health Suite.

Image by pikisuperstar on Freepik

Dluxe Magazine Leicester

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