Top five tips for calming smear test fears

Top five tips for calming smear test fears

17-23 January is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. At Benenden Hospital we offer a range of private gynaecology procedures in support of women’s health.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is the UK’s leading cervical cancer charity. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust was the concept of London businessman, James Maxwell (1957 – 2003) in memory of his wife, Jo (1959 – 1999) who died from cervical cancer at the age of 40. The charity declares they won’t stop until the day that cervical cancer is no more. Cervical cancer can be devastating but they’re here to reduce the impact. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust provides trustworthy information, campaigns for change and provides support at every step.

Did you know that one in three women/people with a cervix don't attend cervical screenings? Smear tests can help with the early detection of abnormal cells of the cervix.

At your cervical screening (smear test) appointment, a nurse takes a sample of cells from your cervix using a small, soft brush. The test only takes a few minutes.

220,000 women and people with a cervix every year are told they have cervical cell changes after their screening, and many more are given a HPV diagnosis. HPV is the name of a very common group of viruses with over 100 different types. They do not cause any problems in most people, but some types can cause genital warts or cancer. This can mean more tests and treatments, and for some it can be incredibly hard time. Here are our top five tips for calming your nerves before a cervical screening.

1. Talk to your nurse or doctor

It’s important to talk to your nurse or doctor if it’s your first cervical screening, if you feel embarrassed or worried, if you’ve had a bad experience before, or if you’ve experienced anything that makes the test hard for you. The professionals can try to give you the right support.

2. Ask for a nurse or doctor of a particular gender

You may feel more comfortable with a female or male nurse doing your cervical screening so you can request this when you book your appointment.

3. Take someone you trust with you

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, GP surgeries may not allow you to bring someone else to your appointment or into the surgery with you. However, if it would help or if you need assistance, it is still worth asking your surgery. The person you bring could be a friend, family member, partner or someone else. If a trusted person isn’t able to come to the appointment, you can check if another member of staff can be with you for support. This person is sometimes called a chaperone.

4. Wear comfy clothes

Wear something comfy which isn’t too thick and hot and easy to get on and off for your smear test. You may decide to wear a skirt or dress so you don’t have to take it off during your appointment. Also wear big comfy underwear that can support a panty liner or a pad.

5. Wear pads

Most people can continue their day as usual after the appointment. You may have some light bleeding (spotting) for a day after the test, so it can help to wear a sanitary pad or panty-liner.


Private GP Service at Benenden Hospital

Health concerns can be worrying, especially right now. We offer fast access to 25-minute face-to-face private GP appointments on Saturdays and during the week for £95. Our male and female GPs can discuss any worries you have about your health.

You’ll have 25 minutes with your GP, who will take the time to thoroughly discuss your health concerns. They’ll also arrange any tests, scans or follow-up appointments and discuss their costs with you. Our Pharmacy is also available if you need to fill a prescription. We’ll send you a letter detailing your appointment, and a copy will be sent to your NHS GP.

Dr Fiona Warner, our experienced GP who specialises in women's health and sexual health, offers private smear tests to patients in a discreet, clean and safe environment.


Put your health first

To find out more about our private GP service or to discover the gynaecology treatments we offer this cervical cancer prevention week at our comfortable and discreet private hospital, contact our Private Patient Team by completing our online enquiry form or by calling us on 01580 363 556.

Published on 17 January 2022