What is a Smear Test?


What is a Smear Test?

A Smear Test (also known as a Cervical Screening) is an important test to assess the health of the cervix to help prevent cervical cancer. It’s offered to women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64. It is one of the most crucial preventative tests for protecting and ensuring women’s health. A smear test is not a test for cancer but rather a test to help prevent cancer. 

During a smear test, a small sample of cells is taken from the cervix to be tested for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). The cells that they are looking for are classed as “high-risk” types of HPV which can change the surrounding cells of the cervix. 

What happens during a Smear Test?

  1. Firstly they will ask you to undress, behind a screen, from the waist down. You’ll usually be provided with a sheet to put over you but if you purchased a pair of our HapiLegs, you can keep these on.
  1. The nurse will ask you to lay back on the bed, bend your legs, and put your knees apart. The nurse is almost always female.
  1. They will enter your vagina using a lubricated, smooth, tube-shaped tool called a speculum. The speculum will then be opened so the nurse can see your cervix.
  1. Using a small, soft brush they will take a small sample of cells from your cervix.
  1. Once the sample has been collected, the nurse will close and remove the speculum. 
  1. The nurse will then leave and you can get dressed. The smear test is usually completed within 5 minutes. 

There is very little preparation needed before a Smear Test. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust advises you to avoid booking a Smear Test when you have your period as it can make it more difficult to get accurate results. They also advise you to avoid using spermicide or oil-based lubricant 24 hours before the test as these can also affect the results (Jo’s Cancer Trust). After your appointment, you should receive your results within 4 to 6 weeks.

A 2016 study cited by Cancer Research UK found that Smear Tests save at least 2,000 lives each year in the UK (Cancer Research UK). We at Hapilegs want to improve Smear Test attendance as much as possible by offering our privacy-protecting gowns. NHS statistics show that 4.6 million women between the ages of 25 and 65 have never been tested in England. We hope to do our bit to encourage those 4.6 million women to take up their Smear Test and save more lives (UK Government National Statistics).

We at HapiLegs are committed to helping more women attend their smear test appointments. If you are interested in seeing our privacy-protecting HapiLegs, click here.

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