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Smear test age not to be lowered

(25 Posts)
beautifulgirls Wed 24-Jun-09 16:08:03

This is outrageous that they will not listen to reason. Better a few false positives that can later be reassured than just one death angry
news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8116962.stm

Meglet Wed 24-Jun-09 20:28:49

So if they aren't doing them until 25 some women will have been sexually active for 10 years and goodness knows what might be happening inside.

Maybe it could be raised once everyone has had the cervical cancer jab and its working, but until then I think earlier testing should be brought back.

Nancy66 Wed 24-Jun-09 20:29:03

there is no justification for lowering the age - it is a very very rare cancer.

beautifulgirls Wed 24-Jun-09 20:30:40

Very very rare, but try telling that to the family who loses a loved one young, who just might have been saved by a smear test. What price for a life?

Sidge Wed 24-Jun-09 21:15:36

The national programme is for cervical screening. It is a screening programme.

If a woman under the age of 25 has symptoms she will always get a smear test as it is clinically indicated. That is completely separate to the screening programme.

Nancy66 Wed 24-Jun-09 21:38:13

beautifulgirls - Tragic but it doesn't justify a costly and unnecessary screening programme.

JimmyMcNulty Wed 24-Jun-09 21:41:55

Sidge - not necessarily. This was 10 years ago but my friend died at 21 of cervical cancer (at least that's where it started - ended up almost everywhere) and had classic symptoms which were first ignored and then misdiagnosed. Not a single smear test. I hope things have changed since then.

Sidge Wed 24-Jun-09 21:46:21

Jimmy - I sincerely hope so too. I am sorry to hear about your friend.

mamadiva Thu 25-Jun-09 08:25:22

If it's not necessary and wastes so much money why do we in Scotland attend smears from age 20?

It can't be too expensive for one part of the country and not the other, more money is spent supporting a drug addict than trying to save people.

Nancy66 Thu 25-Jun-09 10:02:47

Our lifetime risk of getting cervical cancer is 1 in 130(roughly) our risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 9

Scotland has a fraction of the population of England and the take up among women under 20 is very low .

SoupDragon Thu 25-Jun-09 10:05:00

I think this is absolutely disgusting. Why the fuck should English girls be treated differently to other UK females?

Nancy66 Thu 25-Jun-09 10:14:00

Because you can't spend millions on a screening programme that is irrelevant to 95% of the population.

SoupDragon Thu 25-Jun-09 10:15:34

The point is that the age should be the same for everyone.

Mamazon Thu 25-Jun-09 10:17:07

being someone who has had years of ongoing treatment for cervical cancer i was gutted when i heard this news

Sidge Thu 25-Jun-09 13:09:26

SoupDragon - I agree that the discrepancies in NHS provision between different areas of the UK are outrageous. I am amazed that Scotland and Wales have different provision to England despite the fact that we are all in the UK. There should be a blanket application of provision across the UK.

SoupDragon Thu 25-Jun-09 14:04:31

Is it Wales that get free/cheaper prescriptions? Am I mistaken in believing that we all pay the same taxes?

Longtalljosie Thu 25-Jun-09 14:19:58

Soup dragon - we do, but health is a devolved issue, so they get to decide their own spending priorities. Yes - free prescriptions in Wales - but you should see their hospital waiting lists...

I've found this cervical screening story confusing - as my university health centre nagged you on smears from the second you arrived...

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 25-Jun-09 14:39:07

I'm a bit biased on this one but I think women should have access to smear tests from a younger age if they are sexually active.

One of the problems with cervical cancer is often it is asymptomatic until it has spread beyond the cervix. Therefore the treatment is much more invasive and the risks alot higher. Thats why we have the screening programme.

I had cervical cancer at 31 having being reassured by my consultant that there was nothing to worry about as cancer cells took many years to develop. I had absolutely no symptoms and it was only found through a smear test and colposcopy. It was only in the early stages but they still had to remove my womb, tubes, cervix, healthy tissue either side of my cervix and the top of my vagina.

Very invasive and traumatic surgery but if it had spread beyond the cervix obviously it would have been even worse.

EB00 Thu 25-Jun-09 22:37:28

Didn't the age limit used to be lower? I think I remember being pestered by doctors to have one when I was quite young - and they seemed to assume everyone over 18 was sexually active.

CarmenSanDiego Thu 25-Jun-09 22:40:12

I was in the Channel Islands when I was 21 and had my first baby at 22. I was definitely called for smear tests around this time.

Meglet Thu 25-Jun-09 22:42:11

i was pestered for one from 18 in the 1990's. I had one a year after having sex for the first time.

Zorayda Thu 25-Jun-09 23:49:07

WRT free prescriptions in Wales - I understood that so many people qualified for free prescriptions (they used to be free for under-25s) that it cost more to administrate the finances of charging for them than to give them out for free. And you are less likely to get an 'unnecessary' prescription now. (Like antibiotics for a virus when you're otherwise in full health.)

JetLi Fri 26-Jun-09 00:50:54

I had my first smear test at 17 and this 25 year age limit horifies me to be honest. I'm also a bit disgusted that Cancer Research UK instigated this bloody change FFS here
If you're old enough to be having sex then you're old enough to take responsibilty for your sexual health.

Mybox Fri 26-Jun-09 08:19:02

What's age got to do with a health check? If a someone wants a test they should be able to have it.

janinlondon Fri 26-Jun-09 08:37:35

In very simple terms, the false positive rate for under 25 year olds is far too high to justify the costs of a national screening programme. (That is, a programme for asymptomatic women). The decision is absolutely correct. The people who sat around the table on this one agonized long and hard, and they are caring and sensitive health professionals but the evidence is incontrovertible. There was also a huge international symposium in Scandinavia earlier this year, where all the available evidence from around the world was presented and considered, and the same conclusions were reached. For younger women, smear tests are not the answer. You can probably guess I am not entirely disassociated with this decision. But I think you must read the actual original papers before you start leaping to conclusions. The evidence is there. Not in the popular press, or in anecdotal stories.

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