Alternatives to smear?

This might seem like a stupid question but is there any alternative to a smear test, such as a home testing kit? I am 42, live in the UK and have never had a smear. I will not go for a smear, so there is no point trying to persuade me, but if there was an alternative I would be happy to do that. THanks

Hi elaine

It’s not a stupid question. I avoided smear tests from the age of 50y for various reasons and can very much empathise with why one wouldn’t want to go. I hear what you’re saying about there being no point in trying to persuade you to go but what I would say is that it is the biggest regret of my life that I stopped going for smears - see my back story. I can guarantee that if you were to experience just 5 minutes of my post diagnosis life you wouldn’t hesitate to get a smear test - my treatment has left me with life changing side effects including a semi-paralysed bladder and lymphoedema. Why risk it for the sake of a 2 minute test?

However to answer your question one alternative is HPV self sampling. Kits can be bought on-line: google on ‘HPV self testing UK’. If you test HPV negative you have negligible risk of cervical cancer and can afford to wait three years before self testing again. If you test HPV positive then you do have a risk for cervical cancer and should seriously consider getting a smear test so your cervical cells can be checked for abnormalities.

Do you understand what is stopping you from getting a smear test? It might help to write down the reasons for clarity. In my case I developed mistaken beliefs and irrational fears around the smear test - I think if I’d put things down on paper it could have helped me see how muddled my thinking was.

If you have any questions I’m happy to try and answer them.

Best wishes


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