A young Derbyshire mum-of-two is urging women to attend their all-important cervical screening appointments after the five minute test saved her life.
Lauren Smith also believes the age for cervical screening, currently 25, should be lowered after her first test revealed she had cells in her cervix that could quickly turn into cancer.
It comes after Public Health England announced that cervical screening attendance had shockingly plummeted to a ten year low.
Lauren, a 25-year-old mum of two little boys from Belper, said she there were no signs to suggest that anything was wrong.
She said: “The test is not painful, only a bit undignified, and it saves lives. In fact, it saved mine.
“It was a shock when I had my first smear test and was told my smear was ‘A Grade abnormal’ and I had pre-cancerous cells, as well as a positive HPV result.
“I would never have known otherwise.”
Lauren went for a colposcopy and was placed in the CIN3 category, which means there is a ‘high chance’ cells will become cancerous.
She has since had an operation to remove the cells and is awaiting the results.
“I’m grateful for how fast the NHS have worked with me to get the operation and treatment done,” said Lauren.
“I will have to have another smear test in six months to confirm if all the cells have been successfully removed or not. My two boys need me around.
“So before you miss your smear or think nah, I can’t be bothered to go- think twice.”
Agnes Belencsak, screening and immunisation lead for Public Health England East Midlands, said: “It’s worrying to see a decline in women attending for their screening appointments.
“There may be a number of reasons that women put off going for their appointment, including embarrassment or concerns over the procedure itself. A smear test is the best way to detect abnormal cells in the cervix and early detection and treatment is vital so abnormal cells don’t turn into cervical cancer.
“I would encourage anyone who is invited for screening who have concerns to talk to their nurse at their GP beforehand.
“No question is silly or a concern too small and they will make you feel more at ease with the process.”
If you’re female and 25 or over, please do not put off your cervical screening appointments. You can book one by contacting your GP.
For more information on what a smear test entails visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening.