Sexual health nurse Sarah Beattie explains why this is such an important topic especially as we mark Cervical Cancer Prevention week.
Coronavirus has changed a lot about our lives over this last year but it hasn’t changed the fact that our health issues still need to be addressed.
Sexual Health has historically been one of those issues that people avoid, but it’s really important to address any issues you may have.
At the One to One in Northumberland and North Tyneside we have a fantastic team who are very friendly, caring, professional and extremely skilled. They will always go the extra mile to help you with any issues, no matter how big or small.
We are here for anything from asymptomatic screening to the treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV care, contraception or pregnancy decision making…. the list is endless.
We promote vaccination programmes to prevent certain STI’s such as HPV and Hepatitis and screening programmes to prevent or treat disease such as cervical cancer.
When starting my Nursing career in 1995 as a registered general nurse on a Medical Admissions Ward, I would never have thought my journey would take me through Prison Nursing to become a Sexual Health Nurse Specialist/Non-Medical Prescriber.
After 12 years in this role, there are so many aspects that I still enjoy and it always keeps me motivated and interested.
My role is very rewarding in many ways because our patients can be very apprehensive when they arrive but leave feeling grateful, relieved and re-assured.
One area of sexual health I have always been quite passionate about is Cervical Screening, because I know from clinical experience how important it is and it can literally save someone’s life.
During Cervical Cancer Prevention week, we want as many people as possible to know how they can reduce their risk of the disease and to educate others.
Please visit: https://www.jostrust.org.uk/ for further information.
Screening helps prevent cervical cancer by checking for a virus called high-risk HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) and cervical cell changes. It is not a test for cancer but can help the diagnosis of abnormal cells, enabling effective management.
Around 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK each year. That’s more than 8 cases diagnosed every day (Cancer Research 2015-2017). Cervical cancer survival is improving all of the time and has increased in the last 40 years in the UK due to screening and advances in medicine.
You should be invited for cervical screening if you have a cervix, this includes Trans men, non-binary and intersex people. In the UK, you are automatically invited for cervical screening if you are: between the ages of 25 to 64 and registered as female with a GP surgery.
You may get your first invite up to 6 months before you turn 25. You can book an appointment as soon as you get the invite with your GP, some Sexual Health Services may also invite you. Some women can find the experience a little uncomfortable but the majority of women find it painless and uneventful.
Please take 2 minutes to think about whether you are up to date with your cervical screening and if not please book an appointment. Also make it a topic of discussion with colleagues, friends and family at your next teams meeting or zoom call. Together we can help prevent cervical cancer.