We’re not afraid to tackle the messy topics here at HARA; self-care, health and wellbeing are core to our values - so settle down ladies, today we’re talking about cervical cancer.
On the 22nd January Europe recognises the start of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, here in Aus’ it comes a little later in the year but it’s never too early to talk about it.
Did you know that Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35?
Smear tests prevent 75% of cervical cancers developing, yet 1 in 3 of us young women don’t attend our smear tests. Find out more here.
Ladies, why are so few of us getting tested?
A UK report in 2014 showed that “a quarter (26%) of 25- to 29-year-olds are worried the five-minute test would be painful and embarrassing.” Read the full article here for more factors.
Talking about the smear test, what’s it like, how long does it lasts, is one way to demystify the process. Instagram’s @Adventures_of_a_beta_mum does just that in her recent cartoon post.
Smear test reminder, ladies! Ugh, I know. It's not my favourite part of being a woman, either. But of all the things to prioritise, of all the times that it's important to practise a bit of self-care, getting your smear tests (cervical screening) done regularly has got to be near the top of the list. My recent test went like this: I took off my pants behind the drawn curtain, bemused as always at the way that the nurse gives us that little bit of privacy when in thirty seconds' time she is going to be having a good old gander at my floodlit fandango. Then I assumed the position: feet together, knees apart, and awkwardly waited for her to reappear whilst feeling ever-so-slightly thankful that I'd given my lady garden a cursory hack last night. We proceeded to have a lovely chat about our kids and how her little boy is starting school in September and how it's difficult juggling everything as a working mum - whilst she popped in the (larger-sized since I had children) speculum and had a ferret around inside my vajayjay with the funny little toothbrushy thing. It was over in a trice (what exactly is a trice?) and I went about my day none the worse for wear, just a little squelch of NHS lube to remind me that today I did a GOOD THING. Go me! I'm taking care of myself! You should too, ladies - when was your last smear test? If it's been three years or more, make time to give your GP surgery a ring. You won't regret doing it, but you might regret not. Now go forth and share the bejazzle out of this! Make sure all your female friends and family get the message. @joscervicalcancertrust @mother_pukka #smearforsmear #cervicalcancer #cervicalcancerawareness #savealife #cancer #womenshealth
What’s going on Down Under?
Changes were made to the cervical screening initiative last year in Australia, the test now looks for the HPV virus and is said to be more accurate and you’ll need it less often. Now that’s good news. Stay up to date by watching their latest Public Service Announcement:
Find out more information here.
The Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation offer an interesting service: you can get a free reminder so you can keep up to date with your cervical screening tests by clicking here.
What you can do to demystify the smear test
If you’ve recently had your smear test, share your story. Tell your friends and family, what it was like, how it felt - do your bit to tackle the stigma
If you’re a blogger or a keen instagrammer you could reach a number of young women - just like @the_adventures_of_beta_mummy
If you’re in Europe, consider holding an awareness day in your office
Check out the Jo’s Trust website for more ideas.