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Is it time for the ‘smear test’ to be rebranded?

The government has launched its first cervical screening advertising campaign in England, as the numbers of women taking part have hit a 20-year low.

The campaign – being run by Public Health England – has avoided the term “smear test” amid concern it may be putting people off.

Officials said the term was outdated and hope the term cervical screening will “normalise” the procedure.

Adverts will run on TV, radio and online for the next eight weeks.

The campaign stresses the screening is basically a health check for the cervix and shows a woman being reminded by family members and friends to go for testing.

Figures last year showed just over 71% of women aged 25 to 64 had been screened at regular enough intervals.

PHE director of screening Anne Mackie said the campaign was about “breaking down barriers”.

She said there were a variety of reasons for not attending but there had been a conscious move away from the term “smear test”.

“The technical process used today no longer smears the sample of cells from the cervix on to a glass plate,” she said.

“We now put cells that we collect into a tube of liquid, so technically ‘smear’ is incorrect.”

Ms Mackie said the overarching message of the campaign – cervical screening saves lives – was much more “clear and direct” and “hopefully helps to normalise the term”.

What are your views?  Moving forward, do you think a name change will help increase the numbers of women who attend this screening? Is the term ‘smear test’ off-putting? Do you attend a regular screening? If not why not?

Which name for the procedure do you prefer?

400 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Smear test Cervical screening

What are your views?

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Alicia
10th Mar 2019
0
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How many people would actually know the meaning of 'cervical screening' ?
ElisabethR
14th Mar 2019
0
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Most people. Its spoken about in the media often. Just go get it done. Could save your life.
Irene88
9th Mar 2019
1
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Don't care what you call it just get it done it could save your life.
Modan
8th Mar 2019
1
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In the 70s it was the practice in my area to offer the ‘smear test’ after the birth of your second child (who sadly in my case was stillborn). The test showed abnormal cells which proved to be cancer and I had a hysterectomy. I know the world, treatment and medical practices have moved on but I believe younger women should be informed at a much earlier age about cervical screening and the test offered sooner, where appropriate.
Kes
5th Mar 2019
3
Thanks for voting!
YES! Yes to the name change, as it is clear what it concerns, and yes to publicising it as much as possible. Yes, it’s not a pleasant experience, but it’s quick, and yes, it’s a no brainer, it will save lives. I am now outside the age range for this screening, but I’ve never ever missed an invite to have the test and thankfully they have all been normal. If you're 65 or older, you will usually
stop being invited for screening and this is because they say it's very unlikely that you'll get cervical cancer. You would only be invited again if one of your last three tests was abnormal. Test invites are every five years for the age range 50 - 64. The screening starting age is 25, and I agree with Jeanmark, that it should start earlier than that.
jeanmark
5th Mar 2019
6
Thanks for voting!
I do support the need for a change in name and hope it will encourage more women to attend. Most women would agree it is not a pleasant experience but so necessary.

Now all we need is to drop the age below 25 for routine screening to start.
CaroleB76
5th Mar 2019
2
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Getting an appointment would help
ElisabethR
14th Mar 2019
0
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Should come automatically... Speak to your gp practice.
GladysFriday
5th Mar 2019
4
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Media are whittering on about the word 'Smear' being an off-putting factor - but I doubt that. I reckon there are far more off-putting factors such as: Lying like an oven ready turkey with a million-watt bulb illuminating the nethers, then trying to think of something to say while a virtual stranger inserts a freezing speculum somewhere that is usually very private ("Going anywhere nice on your holidays, this year"), and then - it can be ruddy uncomfortable at the time and quite sore afterwards! Put off by a word? Nope. Having said that - ladies - just do it! Lives are saved. 🙂
JuneD
5th Mar 2019
3
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I think we have to appreciate that the NHS offer this screening to us females. Its a service we should use, I have I am now 65. I never looked forward to the recall, it filled me with dread, but the test is over very quickly. The word ''smear'' needs to be removed, its not a nice word. Also more needs to be put out there about the screening to reassure those women that really do have a fear of having the test.
SueB412
5th Mar 2019
4
Thanks for voting!
It is certainly not a pleasant procedure however it is worded but far better than a procedure for treating advanced cancer. If the change in wording (and its not really a change, only using the medical term) helps ladies attend this important appointment, it's got to be a good change. Although I have a feeling, the attend rate still won't be as good as it should be.
Janishall
5th Mar 2019
3
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I don't understand why women don't attend these appointments. No, it isn't pleasant, but it is so important.
MrsPat
5th Mar 2019
6
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Cervical screening sounds a lot more civilized and is the correct terminology for it. If it saves lives it must be a no brainer.
5
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As the mother of three daughters, I think changing the name from 'Smear test' to 'Cervical screening' is a very positive step. The former is so outdated and I think could be very off-putting - it is such a simple procedure and in my opinion preferable to a visit to the dental hygienist! The rebrand will help to demystify the simple procedure and hopefully, this campaign will increase the uptake and more women will book their appointments. Cervical screening saves lives! Simple!

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