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Major misconception about smear tests

Major misconception about smear tests

Frighteningly, many women in the UK mistakenly believe smear tests can detect ovarian cancer.

Smear tests do not detect ovarian cancer.

They only detect cervical cancer.

Target Ovarian Cancer survey reveals that 22% of women think that a smear test can detect ovarian cancer.

This major misconception could leave women at risk. They could ignore ovarian cancer symptoms due to a clear smear test result.

Potentially, women could risk late stage diagnosis.

The later diagnosis of cancer could result in more invasive treatments and decrease chances of remission.

There is no screening for ovarian cancer.

Smear tests are a vital part of our NHS. But they only screen for cervical cancer. Not ovarian cancer, womb cancer or vulva cancer.

There is no screening available in the NHS for ovarian cancer, or any gynaecological cancer other than cervical.

It is important that women understand this, it could save their life.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer:

  • Persistent bloating
  • Needing to wee more than usual or more urgently
  • Pelvic pain or tummy pains
  • Loss of appetite or feeling full quicker

If you are experiencing symptoms of ovarian cancer, it doesn’t mean it is that!

But, you should visit your GP to check.

And if you are not happy with what they say, or your symptoms persist, make sure you keep going back.

“Ovarian Cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in women. It’s symptoms are subtle and can often go undetected. It is imperative that you seek advice from your GP if you notice any abnormalities for you. I act for many women and their families where Ovarian Cancer has not been diagnosed even when they have done everything advised by the NHS. The have sought advice, they have kept a symptom diary. Be persistent and if you are worried press for a second opinion.”

Melanie Lidstone-Land, Senior Associate Clinical Negligence / Mental Health

Smear tests do not detect any gynaecological cancer other than cervical

One woman, telling her story in the Independent newspaper says she mistakenly believed that her clear smear test meant that she was safe in her gynaecological areas.

Her womb cancer was misdiagnosed as gluten intolerance by her GP.

Even though cutting out gluten didn’t help, Dafina Malovska was only referred to a gynaecologist when she started to bleed between periods.

Dafina decided to see a private gynaecologist in Macedonia when visiting her family. She was diagnosed with womb cancer when they discovered a tumour.

Dafina has since had to undergo a full hysterectomy to save her life.

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