People

Scarlett Moffatt’s abnormal smear results underline how vital it is we all get tested

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Scarlett Moffatt attends the Ru Paul's Drag Race UK Launch on September 17, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

“The sooner they pick it up, the easier it is to manage,” the TV star, who is awaiting results from a biopsy, reassured her fans.

In the UK, women are encouraged to attend a smear test every two years. The procedure – which takes around five minutes – detects cell changes which, if untreated, could go on to develop into cervical cancer.

As cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer in women under the age of 35, smear tests are estimated to save around 5,000 lives a year in the UK. However, the latest statistics from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust have revealed that many women are delaying their tests – or failing to attend them entirely – because they feel scared (71%) and vulnerable (75%) at the thought of going.

Which is why Scarlett Moffatt – who first found fame on Channel 4’s Gogglebox – decided to share her own abnormal smear test results with her followers in a bid to remind them of the importance of regular testing.

You may also like

What actually happens during a smear test? A doctor answers our questions

In a video posted to her Instagram Stories, Moffatt revealed she is now waiting for the results from a follow-up biopsy.

“I went for the smear, something came back. They detected something… lots of people have to go for biopsies and again I worked myself up about it, but I still went,” she said.

“It was four minutes of discomfort for something that as a little bit uncomfortable, but I went because could save my life. The sooner they pick it up, it’s easier to manage.”

Moffatt went on to praise the NHS, before reassuring her followers: “I get my results back in a couple of days. And hopefully it comes back to say that in a year’s time I’ll have to go for a smear test or even fingers crossed it’ll say, ‘In three years’ time you’ll have to go for a smear test’. But it is so important. Imagine if I kept leaving it and leaving it?

“Things can be done if it’s detected really early on… please, please, please go for your smear.”

Most women will have “normal” results from the screening, while around one in 20 will be told they have “abnormal changes” in the cells of their cervix.

When asked if we should worry about “abnormal changes”, Dr Vanessa Mackay, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), previously told Stylist: “An abnormal test result does not mean a woman has or will get cancer, it just means some of the cells are abnormal.

“The cells may go back to normal on their own, however, in some cases the abnormal cells need to be removed so they don’t become cancerous.”

To help prevent an abnormal smear test result, the NHS recommends that you book your appointment for the middle of your menstrual cycle, around 14 days after the start of your last period, to get the best sample of cells possible.

It also recommends that you should avoid using barrier methods of contraception (such as a condom or diaphragm) or spermicide or lubricant jelly, in the 24 hours before you take the test.

You may also like

Cervical cancer screening: We asked 50 women about smear tests. The answers were unexpected

If you have received an invitation for a smear test with your local GP and haven’t yet booked one, it’s highly recommended that you do so as soon as possible. Worries and concerns are normal, but they shouldn’t prevent you from attending a screening.

Still feeling anxious? We put the most common questions about smear tests to a doctor – and her answers were truly reassuring. You can check them out here.

Sign up to our daily email for a curated edit of the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you’ll never miss out on the conversation again.

Image: Getty

Topics

Share this article

Author

Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

Recommended by Kayleigh Dray

Life

What happens during a smear test? A doctor answers our questions

Nervous about going for a smear test? Here, a doctor explains what happens during a cervical screening so you know what to expect.

Posted by
Sarah Biddlecombe
Published
Life

Everything you need to know about DIY smear tests

NHS England is making at-home smear test kits available to some women later this year. Here are all the key facts.

Posted by
Moya Crockett
Published
People

Michelle Keegan admits the three reasons she’s been avoiding her smear test

The actor felt compelled to speak out as cervical screening rates are the lowest in 20 years

Posted by
Megan Murray
Published
Long Reads

We asked 50 women about smear tests. The answers were unexpected

“Who knew your cervix could move around so much and then hide at the worst possible moment?”

Posted by
Sarah Biddlecombe
Published
Long Reads

Cervical cancer: “Jade Goody probably saved my life – why aren’t more women going for smear tests?”

Attendance for cervical screening tests is at a 19 year low in England.

Posted by
Nicola Appleton
Published