Petition Lower the age for a smear test from 25 to 18 to prevent cervical cancer.
Currently the age for smear tests are set at 25. I believe that the age of screening should be lowered to age 18 to enable all woman to detect cell changes and prevent cancer.
By reducing the age of smear tests and cervical screening today we can save lives, we can tackle cell changes early and prevent cervical cancer.
A cancer that is 100% curable and preventable if caught early enough.
This response was given on 12 March 2019
Strong evidence shows cervical screening in women under 25 does more harm than good
Read the response in full
Cervical screening is not suitable for women under 25 because it’s common for younger women to have abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix, caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which change back to normal and don’t increase the risk of cancer.
Having treatment in the colposcopy clinic under the age of 25, for cell changes that would disappear on their own, could result in a slightly increased risk of early (premature) birth in a future pregnancy plus cause unnecessary anxiety and distress for young women.
Most HPV infections are sexually transmitted and at some point during our lives, 4 out of 5 (80%) of us will get at least one type of HPV.
In most cases, especially in under 25s, the immune system gets rid of the HPV and the cell changes go back to normal. In this situation there is no increased risk of cervical cancer developing.
Because the risk of causing harm by screening early, rather than doing good, is greater in younger women, it’s very important NOT to have cervical screening under age 25.
This is discussed on the webpage https://www.gov.je/Health/Cancer/Cervical/Pages/YourAppointment.aspx#anchor-6
It’s also explained by the national charity Jo’s Trust which campaigns to prevent cervical cancer https://www.jostrust.org.uk/about-cervical-cancer/cervical-screening/cervical-screening-under25
Any women who have symptoms, whether pain, bleeding or discharge – at any age – should not delay seeing their GP for assessment and possible referral to the Gynaecology Clinic at the hospital. Screening tests have no place in the investigation of symptoms.
The UK expert National Screening Committee doesn’t recommend cervical screening under the age of 25 because evidence shows, in a population overall, that it can do younger women more harm than good.
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