Ignorance about cervical cancer
Failure of pap smear testing
A UK study found that only 74% of women recognize the need for smear tests. Ninety percent of women with invasive cervical cancer have never had a smear test - or only had one ten years before. Ninety percent of women did not understand that the purpose of a cervical smear test is to prevent cancer in the future by detecting pre-cancer cells. The older, least-educated women were less likely to have had even one smear test. One half of the women believed that the test was to detect cancer anywhere in the body. Some women were not aware that they had been tested because doctors did not always tell them what they were doing during internal examinations. One in five were not told the result of the test. Many women said they were embarrassed by the test and found it uncomfortable and would prefer a woman doctor to give it. Most did not know the test could be conducted by a nurse.