Glasgow & West Scotland

Flower wall highlights importance of smear test invites

Flower wall in Glasgow Image copyright PA
Image caption The flowers were being given away to women to remind them not to ignore their smear test invites

A giant wall of flowers has been created in Glasgow city centre in a bid to encourage women to go for their smear test.

The Flower campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of the routine test, which can detect cells that could turn into cancer.

About 1,000 flowers were used to decorate the wall and then given away to women throughout Saturday.

Behind the flowers was the phrase "Nip It In The Bud".

This slogan features in the cervical screening campaign by NHS Health Scotland and the Scottish government.

Scots broadcaster Storm Huntley is backing the initiative. She said: "There's still a lot of fear and embarrassment surrounding smear tests and as a result too many of us aren't getting checked out.

"I hope this campaign will get people talking about cervical screening and how important it is that we all make time for our regular smears.

"I admit, going for a smear is not something I look forward to, but the consequences of not going could be much worse."

'Reassure women'

Six women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every week in Scotland, and it is the most common cancer in women aged 25 to 35.

But figures show that one in three women in this age group do not go for their smear test when invited.

Campaigners say the five-minute test is the best way to protect women from cancer, helping to save around 5,000 lives a year in the UK.

Christine Paterson, a practice nurse at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: "No-one looks forward to a smear appointment, but I want to reassure women that we're trained to make the test go as smoothly as possible.

"I've done hundreds of smear tests and afterwards, most women - especially those that it's their first time - are surprised by how quickly it's all over.

"Don't ignore your next smear invite, and if you missed your last smear test, contact your GP practice to find a time that suits you."

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