Hey! My name is Marley and this is my health advice blog. Maintaining your health is easy when you are young. However, as you get older, you may develop illnesses and disorders as a result of your lifestyle choices. When I hit the age of 50 years old, I suddenly realised that I had a lot of problems which I had been ignoring for a long time. I decided to visit my doctor and seek help. Over the past year, I have worked closely with my doctor to improve my lifestyle and my health. I hope my blog inspires you to do the same.
As people get older, they may be at greater risk of contracting a serious illness, and this is why it's important, in certain circumstances, to be screened. For women, the biggest risk involves cancer of the cervix, and this is why healthcare providers can conduct a smear test to help look for signs of trouble. If you're between the age of 25 and 74, then you should pay close attention to this risk and if you have not had the appropriate check, should get one.
There is no doubt that cervical cancer has reduced across Australia in the couple of decades since a national screening programme went into place. Initially, eligible women were encouraged to take a Pap smear test every couple of years to be on the lookout for the tell-tale signs, but these days a new screening programme is in place instead.
Now, a screening test will look for the presence of the human papilloma virus, rather than screening for the presence of abnormal cells. This is determined to be a much more effective test and, consequently, women will only need to present for such a test every five years, after they have had the first one.
Remember, this type of test is not designed to look for the presence of cancer but is intended to help prevent it in the first place.
During the appointment, a small number of cells will be removed from the cervix and then tested to determine whether there are any cellular changes. If some are detected, they can be either monitored or treated carefully so that they do not develop into cervical cancer.
Some women may be at higher risk of developing cervical cancer than others. However, you are still at risk even if you have only had one sexual partner, as you can pick up the HPV infection in any case. Even though you may have had a vaccine against HPV, you may still be at risk of developing certain types of cervical cancer.
Some people can be blasé about this type of test and may decide not to bother or may simply fail to go back for another test once they have had the initial one. This can be a shortsighted choice however, as this form of screening is by far the best way to help protect against cervical cancer. It is far better to be aware of a risk and treat it than to let it develop in the background until it turns into cancer.
Get in touch with your women's health care facility as soon as possible if you haven't had this type of test, or if you are overdue for a follow-up.