23/01/2012 13:16 GMT | Updated 23/01/2012 13:24 GMT

A Third Of Women In The UK Have Never Had A Smear Test, Study Finds

A recent survey has discovered that a third of British women (29%) have never been for any type of cervical health screening, which is vital for detecting pre-cancerous cervical cancer cells.

The study by Bupa found that despite cervical cancer being one of the most preventable cancers, 2,900 women are diagnosed with the disease every year – and it’s mostly down to the fear of having a cervical smear test due to lack of knowledge of what the test involves.

“Cervical screening detects pre-cancerous cells which can develop into cervical cancer. Early detection of pre-cancerous cells is vitally important in preventing cervical cancer – so if your test does detect these abnormal cells, don’t panic.

“It means that the cells which could develop into the cancer have been detected and can be monitored closely or treated to prevent them developing into cancer,” says medical director at Bupa, Dr Katrina Herren.

If you’re worried about having a smear test, in light of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, organised by the European Cervical Cancer Association (ECCA), Dr Katrina Herren offers The Huffington Post her guidance on what to expect at a smear test and what will happen next.

Cervical Screening: What You Need To Know