Campaign To Encourage Women To Nip Cervical Cancer ‘in the bud’

The benefits of going for a smear test are being highlighted as part of a campaign to encourage young women not to ignore their next invitation.

Practice nurses have added their voices in a bid to help reassure women who put off going for the test, as figures show almost a third of women (29 per cent) aged 25-34 in the NHS Forth Valley area didn’t go for their smear when invited in 2017/181.

The Scottish Government and NHS Scotland ‘Flower’ campaign, is urging women to nip cervical cancer ‘in the bud’ by getting the test done, as it can stop cervical cancer before it starts.

With six women being diagnosed with cervical cancer every week in Scotland2, the campaign aims to get women aged 25-34 talking about cervical screening, to boost uptake and save lives.

All women in Scotland aged 25 to 49 are offered a smear test every three years, while those aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years.

Women are being urged not to ignore their next smear invite, or contact their GP practice if they’ve missed their last smear test to find a time that suits them.

Fiona Mulgrew, Lead Nurse Colposcopist, NHS Forth Valley, said:

“The message we want to get across is that we’re here waiting to help protect you from cervical cancer.

“I’ve done hundreds, if not thousands, of smear tests during my career and afterwards, most women – especially those attending for their first time – are surprised by how quickly it’s all over.

“Of course, it can be a nervous time but, remember, there’s no such thing as a silly question or any reason to feel embarrassed – we are always here to provide reassurance and support.

“So, please don’t ignore your invite when it pops through your letterbox, or forget about it completely, it could save your life.”

‘Flower’ first launched in 2017, with one in three women in Scotland saying they had either attended a smear appointment or spoken to their GP practice as a result of the campaign.

Cabinet Secretary for Health & Sport Jeane Freeman said:

“Cervical screening saves lives. The test is unique as it can prevent the disease before it even begins, and treatment as a result of screening prevents eight out of ten cervical cancers from developing.

“I know there are reasons why women put off going for their smear, such as fear or embarrassment, but it’s vital women are aware that the five minute test is the best way to protect themselves from cervical cancer.”

For further information on cervical screening, visit