Five minute test could save your life

23rd January 2016

A five minute test could save your life

A young accountant from Cheadle is urging women to regularly have their smear tests because putting her own off for 3 years, nearly cost her her life.

Jessica Goddard should have had her test shortly after she turned 25 but for three years she ignored the constant letters and leaflets sent out by her GP surgery.

Thankfully when she went to see her practice nurse at Cheadle Medical Practice about a prescription, the medic noticed she’d not had her smear and persuaded her to have it done.

Jessica’s results revealed that she had high grade cell abnormalities and, after a further procedure was quickly carried out, she was told she had cervical cancer.

Fortunately the cancer had been picked up early and following an operation she was given the all clear but Jessica knows it could have been so very different.

Said Jessica “If I hadn’t been pressed into having my smear, I don’t like to think of what would have happened. I feel like I owe my life to my practice nurse. I now realise how stupid I was ignoring the requests. Please learn from my mistake. If I had had my smear when it was first offered, I would probably have saved myself from having to have the operation and all of the worry that came with the diagnosis. Now I think ‘why on earth would anyone not take advantage of a free screening that could save your life?’ I certainly wouldn’t dream of missing it now.”

In National Cervical Cancer Prevention week (24th – 30th Jan) health experts in Stockport are urging other women to heed Jessica’s words.

The smear test picks up abnormal cell changes in the cervix that could lead to cancer if left untreated. At this stage there are often no symptoms.

The only way to detect these changes is via the smear test but one in four women fail to go for their screening every year.

Dr Karen McEwan, a local GP and NHS Stockport CCG’s Macmillan Cancer Lead added “This screening saves around five thousand lives every year but if every woman went for their smear test, we could save so many more. This is a wholly avoidable cancer – the smear test will pick up abnormal cells before they even become cancerous – so please attend your screening. It only takes five minutes but it could save your life.”

If you are worried about having the smear test or are concerned about the results you can talk to your GP or practice nurse. You can also talk to staff at the cervical cancer charity Jo’s Trust on their helpline number 0808 802 8000.