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Cervical Screening Awareness Week 2024

17th – 23rd June 2024 is Cervical Screening Awareness Week 2024, which aims to remove the myths around cervical screening and encourage more people to get this test. Macmillan Cancer Support recently stated that around 1 in 3 people will not attend their cervical screening in the UK.

Many women and transgender people worry that cervical screenings will be embarrassing or painful. This means that many people avoid booking their screenings for weeks, months, or even years. Charities like Macmillan and Cancer Research UK have released several guides and informative videos to make this process less intimidating.

In this article, we explain what cervical screenings are, why they are important, and how you can show your support during Cervical Screening Awareness Week. We also explain how life insurance works for people who have been diagnosed with HPV or cervical cancer in the past.

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60-Second Summary – Cervical Screening Awareness Week 2024

Cervical screening aims to check for Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which can sometimes lead to cervical cancer. Catching HPV early allows your doctor to monitor any abnormal cells, and to treat/remove them when necessary.

Many people are wary of going for their cervical screening, and Cervical Screening Awareness Week helps by providing real facts and information about this process.

  • NHS cervical screenings are offered to women (and trans people) between the ages of 25 to 64 years old.
  • You are invited for your initial test at age 25, followed by tests every 3 years (England and Northern Ireland) or every 5 years (Wales and Scotland).
  • To support Cervical Screening Awareness Week, you can share personal experiences to help others, fundraise for charity, or even simply book your own screening if you have been avoiding this.
  • Having HPV does not mean that you have cervical cancer, but it is important to closely monitor HPV to lower the risk of cancer developing in the future.

Cervical Screening Awareness Week is an awareness event that attempts to encourage more people to attend their cervical screenings by raising awareness. People often believe these tests will be painful, which causes them to avoid booking their appointment.

This short video from Cancer Research UK shows how cervical screenings work to try and show that they aren’t as scary or embarrassing as they are often believed to be.

Should I go for cervical screening? | Cancer Research UK

Note: Cervical screenings are also often referred to by the less formal term ‘smear test’ or ‘cervical smear’.

When is Cervical Screening Awareness Week?

Cervical Screening Awareness Week always takes place in June, and this year the awareness week is happening between 17th – 23rd June 2024.

There are various ways to get involved in Cervical Screening Awareness Week this year:

  • Book your cervical screening: If you have been putting off booking your screening, now is a great time to get this booked in.
  • Share your experience: Telling others about your experience with cervical screenings can help to encourage them to book their own.
  • Fundraising for a cervical cancer charity: Fundraising for a cancer charity can help to support millions of people who are affected by cervical cancer and their families.

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There are often no symptoms caused by changes to cervical cells, which makes it impossible to know if there is a problem unless you have a cervical screening. The results of your screening will reveal if there are signs of HPV and if there are any ‘abnormal’ cell changes that need to be monitored.

There are a few possible outcomes after a cervical screening:

  1. HPV is not present: This is a negative test result and means that your chance of developing cervical cancer is low. You’ll be invited for another screening in 3 or 5 years (depending on where in the UK you live).
  2. HPV is present (no abnormal cell changes): You will be monitored for any changes, with another screening 1 year late. You may then be invited for another screening after 2 years if HPV is still present. After this, you would be asked to have colposcopy.
  3. HPV is present and abnormal cell changes: If you have HPV and abnormal cell changes, you will be asked to have a colposcopy to look more closely at your cervix.

What is a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is similar to a standard cervical screening, but a microscope will be used to closely examine the cells within your cervix. You may need a biopsy at this time as well, which is where a small sample of cells is removed for testing.

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If you have had HPV or an ‘abnormal’ cervical screening result in the past, this won’t necessarily prevent you from getting life insurance. The insurer will want to know more information about this, including how long ago this was and if you have had any further screenings or treatment.

They will ask several questions and may request to see a copy of your medical record (GP medical report) while assessing your application. It’s possible that insurers could want you to have received a ‘normal’ cervical screening result again before offering cover.

It can be possible to buy life insurance after cervical cancer, and you will have a wider range of options if you have been in remission for several years. A previous cancer diagnosis can affect the cost of life cover, which is why it is important to get proper advice.

An experienced cancer life insurance specialist can explain your best options and will ensure that you find a fair price for the cover that you need. To speak to our cancer life insurance experts, you can CLICK HERE or call 0800 009 6559.

Useful resources

Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan Cancer Support is one of the biggest and most well known cancer charities within the UK. They provide services for people living with cancer at every stage of their cancer experience including emotional, practical, physical, and financial support.

They publish award-winning information about living with cancer and train Macmillan nurses, GPs and support workers to help support people in local communities.

Contact details

Telephone - 0808 808 00 00 (Macmillan Support Line, offers support 8.00am - 8.00pm 7 days a week)
Online support - Macmillan Chat Online Service

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Can I get life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

Yes, you will be able to get life insurance with almost any pre-existing medical condition, as long as it is not terminal. If traditional life insurance is not available due to the severity of your symptoms, then there are other guaranteed and specialist life insurance options, such as:

  • Accidental death
  • Over 50s life insurance
  • Guaranteed life insurance

Some of the most common examples of life insurance with pre-existing conditions are:

  • Overweight or High BMI life insurance
  • Diabetes life insurance (e.g. Type 2 or Type 1 diabetes)
  • Cancer life insurance
  • Heart attack or heart disease life insurance
  • Mental health life insurance
  • Multiple Sclerosis life insurance
  • Autoimmune disorders life insurance
  • HIV life insurance

There are literally thousands of types and variations of pre-exisiting medical conditions and so your situation is likely to be different to someone else. Life insurance with pre-existing conditions will take a number of elements in to account:

  • Severity and type of symptoms
  • Dates of diagnosis, episodes or attacks, and treatments
  • Any ongoing treatment and medications

Your life insurance premiums will be based on your own individual circumstances and how much cover you need. You should be able to adjust the levels of cover to suit your budget and it’s just as important to make sure that you at least have some cover in place.

What does Martin Lewis say about life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

MoneySavingExpert.com suggests that life insurance will ‘cost a lot more’ with a pre-existing medical condition. This is not true and it really does depend on your own individual circumstances so don’t be put off by this as they are not experts in this area.

It is true that some circumstances where the pre-existing medical condition is serious or severe, premiums can be higher to reflect the additional mortality risks. Ultimately, your life insurance premiums are unfortunately based on how likely you are to claim or if you have a higher chance of death within the policy term.

Martin Lewis doesn’t provide any real substance to his comment about pre-existing conditions life insurance and that’s not good enough. You should speak to a medical life insurance specialist to get a fully underwritten quote before you make any final decisions about whether or not you can afford to protect your family.

How much is life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

Most traditional life insurance providers will accept applications for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Often, you will have a number of potential options from several different insurance providers so you can usually save money as well by shopping around.

Historically you might have had less offers when you apply for life insurance with pre-existing conditions, but fortunately that is changing. Most of the more well-known high street life insurance brands are now offering more competitive rates and more flexible underwriting.

Top tips to save money on life insurance with pre-existing conditions:

  • Speak to pre-existing medical conditions specialist (these companies will understand the market better and should know which insurers will be cheapest for you)
  • Shop around and get different quotes (same as everything else, by shopping around you’ll get a better idea of what a good price is and what different companies offer)
  • Apply at the best time (timing can be important when applying for life insurance with pre-existing conditions, usually when symptoms are stable and not before or after treatment)

There are also other things to take into consideration, such as if you’re a smoker or if your weight is higher than normal. Can you do anything to improve your situation that might help to reduce your life insurance premiums.

Best life insurance for pre-existing conditions?

The best life insurance for pre-existing conditions will be different for each individual, based on their circumstances and the details of their health or medical history. There are certainly some insurance providers who are better for people with pre-existing medical conditions than others, such as:

  • The Exeter (better for people with more severe symptoms and serious health problems)
  • Legal & General (can sometimes be good for certain pre-existing medical conditions, especially mild to moderate symptoms)
  • Royal London (offers a number of specialist products and policies for certain pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes and mental health)
  • Scottish Widows (sometimes good for moderate medical conditions and offers flexible underwriting for certain conditions)
  • The Guardian (also offers flexible underwriting towards some pre-existing medical conditions)
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