What are the Changes to Cervical Screening Invites in Wales?

Jodie Cook
Senior Associate, Medical Negligence Lawyer

Women and people with cervixes aged 25-49 in Wales will now only be invited for a cervical screening every five years instead of three. This will match the existing gap between appointments for people aged 50-64.

Scotland already made this change in 2020 and England and Northern Ireland are expected to follow suit. But a lot of people are worried about the impact this will have.

Cervical cancer develops slowly and there usually aren’t any symptoms until it becomes more dangerous. So regular screenings are really important for making sure the right action is taken as soon as possible.

But what is the reality of this in practice?

No one looks forward to their cervical screening appointments. They can feel awkward and intrusive, but they are important. So, as a Medical Negligence Lawyer and as a woman, I find this change worrying.

Jodie Cook, Medical Negligence Lawyer

Why has This Decision Been Made?

This change was based on recommendations from the UK National Screening Committee. They’ve said more sensitive HPV tests - used to check for the virus that can lead to cervical cancer – will be better at identifying people at risk.

But even with more effective tests, I don’t think the importance of regular cervical screenings should be overlooked. 99.8 percent of cervical cancer cases in the UK are preventable, so getting access to treatment sooner rather than later is vital.

How Important is Early Diagnosis?

As a Medical Negligence Lawyer, I often see the devastating effects of late diagnosis first-hand.

  • It can mean the option to have potentially life-saving surgery is taken away.
  • Some patients will need chemotherapy and radiotherapy and will have to face the difficult side effects that come with these treatments.
  • In the worst cases, late diagnosis has given the cancer time to spread to other areas of the body.

It’s impossible for me to put myself in the shoes of my clients who’ve been told the signs of cervical cancer were missed. But I can only imagine the turmoil of knowing the difference that an earlier diagnosis could have made.

If you’ve had a late cervical cancer diagnosis, no amount of compensation will undo the damage caused. But it could make a difference to your life in the future, and make sure you’re not struggling to get what you need. We can give you free initial advice and help you set out your next steps.

Call us on 0808 239 6043 or request a callback

A lot of people are worried about this change and over one million have signed a petition to keep the three-yearly appointments. I can understand this concern, regular cervical screenings give us reassurance and allow for early intervention if more treatment is needed.

If you’re concerned about a late diagnosis of cervical cancer, one of our Medical Negligence Solicitors can discuss your treatment with you and give you advice on where to go from here.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do Cervical Screenings Look for?

Cervical screenings look for what’s called human papilloma virus, more commonly known as HPV. High-risk HPV can sometimes cause cell changes in the cervix that can lead to cancer. But it’s important to remember that this isn’t always the case.

If HPV is found after your screening, your sample will be checked for any changes in the cells of your cervix and these can often be treated before they turn into cervical cancer.

How Long Will it be Until I get my Result?

After your cervical screening, the nurse or doctor should tell you when you’ll get your results. This is usually within six weeks, and it’ll be sent as a letter to your home address.

Try not to worry if you haven’t had your results as soon as you thought you would. If you’re concerned, give your GP a call to see if they can give you an update.

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