21 - should I be having a smear test?

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Hello all, hope you are all in good health.

Just wanting some guidence, i'm 21 years old and I have been with my partner 4 years and we are sexually active... should I be getting a smear test? I've googled it but didnt get an asnwer! 

Thanks xx

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  • Posted

    Pap testing is not recommended before age 25 or 30 (evidence based programs start at 30) and in fact, now we know that only roughly 5% of women aged 30 to 60 are HPV+ ...these are the only women who should be offered a 5 yearly pap test. You can test yourself easily and reliably too. (not recommended before age 30) 

    I think the best program in the world is the new Dutch program, 5 HPV primary tests or HPV self testing at ages 30,35,40,50 and 60 and a 5 yearly smear test will only be offered to the roughly 5% who are HPV+

    I think most countries will eventually move to HPV primary testing and HPV self testing, especially if more women demand something better than population pap testing.

    So pap testing/smear testing (same thing) is not a good idea at 21, you're very likely to get a false positive and that can mean an unnecessary colposcopy and excess biopsy - no fun at all. Young women produce the most false positives of any age group and after decades of testing not one country has shown a benefit smear testing those under 30.

    The Dutch and Finnish programs have never included women under the age of 30. The Finns have the lowest rates of cc in the world and refer FAR fewer women for colposcopy/biopsy, their program produces fewer false positives, they offer 5 yearly pap testing from 30 to 60. This program has been in place since the 1960s.

    There are lots of articles online about the dangers of early screening.

    In the States they start at 21, but that just means they fill up day procedure and waiting rooms with young women having unnecessary biopsies. Sadly, all of the excess makes a fortune for vested interests, it's worth your time and health to do some reading and make an informed decision about screening.



    HPV Today, Edition 24, sets out the new Dutch program.

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    • Posted

      Hi,do you know if smears are pretty accurate if your 32 and having abnormal bleeding inbetween periods? I'm getting worse and have abdominal discomfort,a stabbing pain in my lower back and headaches that never go away. I'm due to see specialist in three weeks but I'm so Ill now I don't know what else to do. I've also had a camera price and ultra scan that came back ok, but my symptoms persist. I get the pain then pink blood. My private region feels tender and my left side hurts.
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    • Posted


      The smear test is a screening test offered to women with NO symptoms, if you're symptomatic, you need a proper assessment. (not a smear test)

      You're on the right track with your referral to a specialist, perhaps, you should call and see if you can get an earlier appointment, you sound uncomfortable. All the best...

      Are smears accurate at 32? There is something a LOT better than smears, HPV self testing. You can test yourself for HPV, if you're HPV- then you're not at risk of cervical cancer (MOST women aged 30 to 60 are HPV-) and cannot benefit from a pap test, HPV+ and you should be offered a smear test. I think the UK will get HPV primary testing within the next 5 years, but you can buy HPV self testing kits. (Tampap & Delphi Screener)

      Not relevant here though, you're symptomatic and need a proper work up.


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    • Posted

      Hi Hannah

      This sounds like something that needs investigation sooner rather than later. If you're feeling a lot worse, I would go to see your gp urgently and ask for an earlier appointment with the specialist. It's probably nothing too serious, but get checked ASAP.

      Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Hi Elizabeth. I don't know if you have heard that Gynaehealthuk have the delphi self screener.They call it Gynae check. It costs £149. The video promoting it quotes all the old untrue cervical cancer stats though ie commonest cancer in under 35's, screening programme saves 4 500 lives per year blah blah and they say it's recommended from 25 years old and that results will be sent to your GP. Hopefully this could be blocked. BUT at least it's available, not like in backward NZ! Apologies if you already know all this!

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    • Posted

      Thanks Finnuala, I didn't know that, I'll pass it on to my UK friends.

      Yes, the lies continue, if women buy Tampap in the UK, they're told they should still have pap tests, even if they're HPV- 

      This is nonsense, but obviously they only got permission to sell it if they didn't take women out of the program, too many rely on the profits from unnecessary smear/pap testing, biopsies etc.

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