Cervical Cancer Screening – its not just for Straight Women

I want to talk about Cervical Cancer Screening. Cervical cancer is not just a straight woman’s issue, as it affects LGBT and trans who may have internal female parts too.

It is concerning as currently 3,000 women are diagnosed every year, and an average of 900 women die every year. This figure includes LGBT and trans women. At the moment one in three ignore screening letters and do not bother to book the simple screening test. There are several reasons why they don’t do the test – they may be embarrassed that healthcare staff will be looking at their private parts, but they are so used to see lots of bodies every day, it’s not a big issue for them! And it only takes five minutes.

There was a brief peak uptake on screening tests when Jade Goody, a Big Brother celebrity discovered too late that she had cervical cancer in 2008. Even though she only had eight months to live, she was very open about her journey and campaigned to encourage more women to get tested. But sadly, the peak is gone and the government is now concerned by the low uptake.

Due to their research National LGBT Partnership have discovered that 37% of LGBT and trans have been told by healthcare professionals not to do the test as there was no risk for them, as they don’t do straight sex. But HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer is passed on through skin to skin intimate contact too so there is a risk for them. So this disinformation is concerning.

Public Health England, an government organisation is currently doing a public campaign to remove the disinformation amongst healthcare staff and advising LGBT to go get tested regularly too. It’s not just the UK that has this problem as in other western countries, there is a misinformation issue among healthcare professionals too.

It’s so easy to get tested, just go to your GP and they will book one for you and the test is only 5 minutes, so there is no need to be embarrassed as it could just save your life! Please think about it.

More information:

PHE Screening blog – https://phescreening.blog.gov.uk

NHS Cervical Screening (CSP) Programme – https://www.gov.uk/topic/population-screening-programmes/cervical

NHS Cervical Screening – https://www.nhs.uk/cervicalscreening

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