I know from personal experience how booking a check-up can become an inconvenience and something that slips to the bottom of your priority list, especially because doctors appointments often require time off work. However, early detection and education is key in increasing survival rates; Cervical Cancer Prevention Week provides us with an opportunity to open up the discussion around cervical screening and cancer in order to prevent any more women suffering because of a largerly preventable disease. I've been extremely open about my medical history, sharing my experience of smears, what happens when the results don't come back normal and undergoing a procedure to remove pre-cancerous cells from my cervix. I've supported the GSK 'Time To Test' initiative, spoken on the Sky News network about the importance of attending appointments and been able to support a huge number of readers through similar experiences. Suffice to say that I believe every woman should take responsibility for their own health; smear tests aren't scary, but the result could be if you don't attend them regularly.
This week Jo's Trust are campaigning for women to understand the importance of cervical screening, as well as continuing their support of those that have been struck down with the disease. They're raising funds to offer a helping hand to those women that need someone to talk to, as well as focusing upon education - if we don't understand the health roulette we're playing by not attending, how can we start to attempt to wipe out such a devastating illness? Smear tests take less time than boiling the kettle and are nowhere near as embarrassing as you may think; they're swift, discrete and painless, but they could also potentially save your life. If you do one thing this week, then make sure it's checking when your last smear test was or booking that appointment you've been putting off... Your lady bits will thank you for it in the years to come.
To donate to Jo's Trust, text JOTR01 followed by the amount you would like to donate (including the £ sign) to 70070 - for example: JOTR01 £5.
Find out more about the work Jo's Trust does via their website.