Cervical Screening Awareness Week - how the Online Community can help

4 minute read time.
Cervical Screening Awareness Week - how the Online Community can help

It's Cervical Screening Awareness week (17-23 June 2024) and in this recent article Macmillan have answered some frequently asked questions about cervical screening.

With nearly 1 in 3 not attending their cervical screening test we also want to share where to find information and support if you’re worried about cervical screening or your screening results.

It can be helpful to share any worries you have around cervical screening. You could talk to someone you know, to your GP or practise nurse.  You can also chat anonymously with people here on the Online Community. 

Many Online Community members have talked about their fears around cervical screening, especially when they have been referred for further tests. 

"I had a routine smear this morning. After the nurse had finished she said she was going to refer me to be seen as she said my cervix looked abnormal. I am now terrified!! I have had an abnormal smear before but never been told at the actual smear appointment that something didn’t look right. … has this happened to anyone before and what should I expect tomorrow?"

“Try not to let your mind run away with itself-there may be nothing to be concerned about, but it’s better to get things checked out. At least you are not having to wait for an appointment and you should find out quickly if there is anything which needs further investigation. I hope you’ll come back and let us know how you get on. Good luck! “

Community members, cervical cancer forum

There's lots of understanding and reassurance shared on the forums, where you can speak to real people who understand how you feel, because they have been there themselves.

"I can understand why you’re nervous-I don’t think any of us like seeing a gynaecologist when we have to feel quite vulnerable in the chair with legs akimbo. I was always nervous too, and I’ve had many, many experiences of being in that position, quite literally!"

"Hiya, just an update. Had my appt this morning, she checked my cervix and confirmed it looked red and it also bled when it was touched so they have referred me to colposcopy so it can be looked at in more detail with a camera, should hopefully have an appt within 2 weeks...so no further forward than what i was but at least it is being looked into xx"

"It’s hard sometimes not to worry about all of this, but I have learned over the years that it serves no purpose. It’s really hard not to worry, and I still do sometimes, but I do try not to before I know anything for certain. Let’s be hopeful it’s something straightforward for you."

Community members, cervical cancer forum

Some members have discussed missing previous screening appointments and how that has made them feel.

“Unfortunately I didn’t keep up with my cervical screening I can make many excuses as to why I didn’t…”

“Can I start off by saying please don’t beat yourself up about missing cervical screening tests? Life happens, and what’s most important now is that your symptoms are being investigated… Being fast tracked doesn’t necessarily mean that you have cervical cancer, but your doctor will want to rule it out as a possible cause of your symptoms.”

Community members, cervical cancer forum

Other members have suggested ways to keep calm when referred for further tests.

“Please try and stay away from Google looking for answers, as it cannot diagnose you and is more likely to cause you to be more anxious. And please don’t let your thoughts run away with themselves before you know more. I understand you are scared, as we worry about unexplained symptoms when we don’t know all the information we need, but this is very early days in the diagnostic process for you. You need to focus on the facts that you know for now, and not thoughts in your head. I know that might be easy for me to say, but I’ve learned to stay calm and deal with one step at a time going through this process. it makes things easier-honestly!"

Community member, cervical cancer forum

Overall, there's lots of support available here on the Online Community, where members can virtually hold your hand through difficult times.

"I don’t have any advice all I wanted to pop by and do is send you a massive hug and tell you you’re not alone!"

Community member, cervical cancer forum

If you would like to raise awareness of cervical cancer screening, or offer information and support around cervical cancer screening, there are lots of things you can do. 

  • If you're not already a member of the Online Community, you are very welcome to sign up and join in the conversation. 
  • You can share the Macmillan information and support page about cervical screening awareness week with your family and friends
  • If you have any questions or feedback around Cervical Cancer Screening Awareness Week, please use the comments section below

If you would like more information and support around cervical screening and cervical cancer, please click on the links below.