Testing for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) has replaced cytology (pap smear test) as the primary test for cervical cancer screening. Better2Know are at the forefront of best practice when it involves sexual health testing. Following the recommended changes by the UK National Screening Committee, Better2Know continues to advise combining our HPV and pap smear test for a comprehensive view of your cervical health.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical Cancer is a cancer that develops in a woman’s cervix. It can take months or even years to advance so it is important to regularly attend cervical screenings. Evidence has linked certain HPV strains to the development of abnormal cervical cells, in particular HPV types 16 and 18. Many cervical cancer cases (99.7%) are a result of chronic HPV infections that cause changes to the cells lining the cervix.
How is Cervical Cancer transmitted?
One of the biggest causes of Cervical Cancer are infections with high-risk strains of the Human Papilloma Virus. Persistent presence of high-risk types of HPV is associated with an increased risk of developing cervical cancer. HPV is sexually transmitted through skin-to-skin contact or an exchange of bodily fluids. This includes unprotected oral vaginal, and anal intercourse.
What are the signs and symptoms of Cervical Cancer?
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding is usually the first noticeable symptom of Cervical Cancer
- This includes bleeding after sex, in between periods or after you have been through menopause
- You may also experience discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse
- Unusual or unpleasant vaginal discharge
- Pain in your lower back or pelvis
Symptoms of advanced Cervical Cancer can include:
- Severe vaginal bleeding
- Blood in urine
- Pain in your lower back or pelvis
- Extreme pain in your side or back caused by your kidneys
- Swelling of one or both of your legs
- Urinary or bowel incontinence
- An increased need to urinate or more frequent bowel movements
Did you know? …
61% of women, aged 25 to 35, are unaware they are at high-risk of Cervical Cancer. Read More
Cervical Cancer and HPV Testing with Better2Know
HPV screening is the primary test for cervical screens. Evidence shows HPV testing is more sensitive; it will help identify women at risk of cervical cancer at an earlier stage. If your HPV test is positive, a reflex pap smear test will automatically be conducted. Better2Know provides confidential HPV and PAP smears at many of our private sexual health clinics in the UK. We will use a single vaginal sample for testing:
- Thin Prep swab. A single swab sample taken from your cervix which will be tested for HPV first. If the virus is detected, then the same sample will be used for the reflex pap smear test. You may find this method of sample collection embarrassing or uncomfortable. However, this is the most ideal way of providing a cervical sample as you will not have to provide another one if you test positive for HPV.
- PCR vaginal swab. A single swab sample from your vagina that will be tested for HPV only. This method of sample collection is less invasive and more comfortable for you. However, if you test positive, another sample will be needed for your reflex pap smear test.
Better2Know offers a range of STI screens that include HPV and PAP smear testing, such as:
- Confirm Screen: Pap smear, HPV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Herpes I/II, Mycoplasma, Gardnerella, Trichomonas, Ureaplasma, Vaginal Swab for Culture
- Pap Smear and HPV Test: Pap smear, HPV
- Pre-Pregnancy Screen: Pap smear, HPV, HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma
Depending on which STI testing option you choose, your results will be reported within two to five working days after the receipt of your sample at Better2Know’s fully certified laboratory.
If your HPV test is positive, and your smear test detects any unusual changes to the cells lining your cervix, then Better2Know will make the necessary arrangements for you to access the further tests you need.
How is Cervical Cancer treated?
With infections such as Cervical Cancer and HPV, early detection enables you to receive the treatment you need as soon as possible. Paying regular attention to your cervical health is essential to protecting your wellbeing.
Cervical Cancer treatment differs depending on which stage of infection you are at. In the early stages, a section of your womb may be removed via surgery, or you will be required to receive radiotherapy, or a combination of the two. In the later stages, chemotherapy may be combined with radiotherapy. Surgery may also be necessary.
What happens if I do not get treatment?
If you remain undiagnosed and untreated then you could suffer from the advanced stages of Cervical Cancer, early menopause, a build-up of fluid in tissue, blood clots or kidney failure.
Women aged 25 to 49 will be invited for a cervical screen every three years, whilst women between the ages of 50 and 64 will be invited every five years. However, if you are experiencing any symptoms, you should make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Our expert sexual health advisors can arrange same day or next day appointments at a time and date that suits you, so book your cervical screen today with Better2Know.
The HPV Vaccine
Better2Know provides HPV vaccinations for those who are concerned about Cervical Cancer or HPV. Our vaccine will protect you from up to nine types of the virus, including: 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58. These strains are associated with causing most cases of HPV-related cancers and genital warts.
You will need three doses of the vaccine to be fully protected. Each dose will be administered at intervals of one to two months and six to twelve months. A booster dose is also advised once every five years.
How can I book a Cervical Cancer test with Better2Know?
To book your confidential cervical screen at one of Better2Know’s STI clinics, simply phone our trained sexual health advisors on the number listed above. Alternatively, you can use Better2Know’s online booking system to arrange your private appointment through our website. Simply select the orange Book Now button at the top of the page.