For the third consecutive year, West Ham United women’s team have thrown their support behind the #SmearForSmear campaign during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.
Esmee de Graaf, Lucienne Reichardt, Brianna Visalli and Erin Simon have helped to drive awareness of smear tests through a social media campaign, and their appeal to increase attendance has been backed by consultant gynaecologist Dr Farida Bano, of West Ham United’s Official Private Hospital, Spire London East.
Dr Bano, who holds over 20 years of experience in gynaecology and obstetrics, says research shows that women who take the time to attend their test will have the best chances of preventing cervical cancer.
I know it’s an intimate examination but it’s important because it’s your health. Even if you’re not having symptoms, it’s still important to attend it; to prevent and diagnose it early.
Dr Farida Bano
“[Patients] have told me before that they don’t want to go because they’ve had a painful experience. It put them off and they didn’t want to go back again,” Dr Bano said.
“It’s an internal examination, it’s an intimate examination, and lots of women are not aware of the screening programme. Even if they are aware they are too embarrassed to come to the doctor for examination.
“I know it’s an intimate examination but it’s important because it’s your health. Even if you’re not having symptoms, it’s still important to attend it; to prevent and diagnose it early.”
Dr Bano’s research shows that cervical cancer is the 14th most common form of cancer found in females, with nine new cases on average diagnosed every day in the United Kingdom.
While the smear test has helped to prevent the development of cervical cancers, Dr Bano says a lack of attendance for checks still makes it one of the most common types found.
She continued: “Because of the cervical screening programme, the incidents of cervical cancer have reduced quite a lot. But, there’s still a lot of women who are not attending for their cervical screening, and therefore the number makes it still one of the most common forms of cancer in women.
“Screening starts at around 25, which is every three years until the age of 50. Afterwards it’s five-yearly.
“Regular cervical screening is important to detect abnormalities, which can be treated early, to prevent any cancer developing in the future. Abnormal results may suggest the presence of pre-cancerous changes, allowing examination and possible preventative treatment.”
It’s proven that smear tests prevent cervical cancer and saves lives, so I would encourage anyone who has been putting off going for a test, or has one due, gets themselves booked in as soon as possible.
Dr Bano’s appeal has been backed by women’s captain Gilly Flaherty, who is hopeful that West Ham’s campaign will help women understand the importance of attending their smear tests.
“Smear tests are a routine examination that only take a couple of minutes, but can have a life-changing impact,” Flaherty said.
“We’re hoping that, by highlighting some of the concerns women may have about going for their smear tests, and helping to ease those worries, we can convince women to get themselves checked.
“It’s proven that smear tests prevent cervical cancer and saves lives, so I would encourage anyone who has been putting off going for a test, or has one due, gets themselves booked in as soon as possible.”
Dr Farida Bano’s latest article regarding cervical cancer is now available and can be viewed here.
Spire London East Hospital are hosting a free consultation evening with a leading, world-class specialist on Thursday 31 January for concerns with women’s health issues. Places are limited, so book your spot now here.
West Ham’s Official Private Hospital also hold regular clinics for women who have any concerns regarding cervical cancer. Anyone who would like to discuss these concerns with a specialist consultant gynaecologist can book here.