Smear tests

Posted , 3 users are following.

Hi,

Just wondering can I ask to have a smear test or to see a gynaecologist if I'm only 22? Or do they not do them under 25? and would it be my gp that I would see or would I organise to see a gynaecologist?

Thanks

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    Smear tests are very unreliable in young women, producing lots of false positives due to more infections being present, which in turn mean more investigations, some of which are damaging, so they are not available on the NHS under 25, as they do more harm than good. In some countries like the Netherlands and Finland, smear tests do not start until age 30, and they have the lowest rates of cervical cancer. If a woman has something wrong, she can book an appointment with a GP who should investigate those symptoms, and the GP will refer to a gyn at a hospital if s/he feels it necessary. Smear tests are a screening test for women with no symptoms at all. If you have something wrong, then you can get it checked out. You don't need a smear test.
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    • Posted

      Hi,

      Thanks for your reply! Ahh okay I didn't realise this, okay maybe that's not the best option then. I am worried about ovarian or cervical cancer so wondering what to do? I'm not keen on going to one of my gps so was wondering if you can just make appointment straight away with gynaecologist?

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    • Posted

      Jess, why are you worried about ovarian and cervical cancer, both are fairly rare cancers and VERY rare in someone your age?

      We hear a lot about cervical cancer, but this cancer was always rare and in natural decline before smear testing even began, that's why we get lots of pressure to screen...when you're looking for a few needles in a huge haystack, well, you need to test lots of women to help a few.

      There are FAR better ways to deal with this small risk, HPV primary testing or HPV self testing at age 30, 95% of women aged 30+ are HPV- and not at risk of cc and cannot benefit from smear tests.

      I'd get on and enjoy your life, don't worry about rare cancers. Ovarian cancer usually affects older women and again, it's fairly rare.

      If you want to worry about cancer, start with the big one, lung cancer, it's a LOT more likely than ovarian or cervical cancer, in fact, almost every other cancer is more likely than those two. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and men.

      The best approach IMO, is to concentrate on the basics, get some exercise, eat well, manage stress, don't smoke...and enjoy life. 

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    • Posted

      From my own experience in the NHS, your GP has to refer you to a gynaecologist only if they think you have a problem. Gyns work in hospitals, so you can't just book an appointment and take yourself off to hospital, except in an emergency, of course. 

      If you are unhappy with your GP, I think they have relaxed the rules a bit, and you may be entitled to register with a GP outside of your catchment area now, eg near to your place of work, as this is a lot easier for some people who commute.  The NHS Choices website allows you to search for GP surgeries in your area, and patients have been able to rate them and leave comments about how good they are. 

      Gyn cancers are mostly for middle-aged old women like myself, so don't worry yourself about them!

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