Why it’s more important than ever to prioritise female health

Cervical screening and mammograms are important screenings to prevent cancer. They can detect abnormal changes in your cells before you or your doctor notices any signs of a problem. We’ve analysed the UK’s online search habits over the last three years for both of these female health checks. Promisingly, more of us have been researching, when compared to the vast decrease we saw during 2020. But, it’s clear that there’s still some room for improvement.

Google search analysis shows that the UK expressed a keen interest in researching smear tests in early 2021. However, this strong interest wasn’t mirrored in early 2022’s search volumes. Average search volumes for ‘mammogram’ have remained more consistent across early 2021 and 2022. It indicates a promising level of awareness of this screening.

It's key that this search interest for both female checks translates into appointment bookings. So that abnormal changes can be detected at the earliest possible stage.

Data correct as at 04 July 2022.

Reach out if you spot anything unusual

With the majority of female health concerns, especially breast cancer, the key is spotting and treating problems early. You should regularly check your breasts to spot any changes. Becoming more aware of how they usually look and feel will help you to feel confident about noticing any changes. If you do spot anything unusual, it’s important to speak to your GP and get this checked as soon as you can.

Cervical screening is not a test for cancer - it is used to help prevent cancer. A sample is checked for certain “high risk” types of HPV. If these are not found, then nothing further is done but if these types of HPV are present then the cells from the sample are checked for any changes. If any abnormal cells are found and these are left untreated, it could lead to cancer.

Having regular cervical screening will identify any abnormalities – these may not be cancerous, and mild abnormalities don’t always need to be treated. Depending on the result, you may need to have treatment to remove or destroy the abnormal cells. In any case, your GP should contact you with next steps, and will be able to answer any concerns you have.

Some people may find a smear test uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t hurt. If it does hurt or if you’re feeling especially nervous, let your nurse know so they can try and make you more comfortable. Try to relax, as this should reduce any discomfort you feel.

A mammogram procedure may be uncomfortable due to the nature of the test, but this discomfort only lasts a few seconds. If you are worried about the procedure being painful, let your nurse or doctor know before the procedure begins.

Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer. If you notice a lump in your breast, it’s very important to get this checked by your doctor; a lump or change to the feel or appearance of your breasts should never be ignored.

You should check your breasts whenever it is convenient for you. Do it as often as you feel you need to do so, as it’s important to notice any changes quickly. Any changes to your breast to how they feel, or look should be noticed and reported to your GP.

It’s important that you check your breasts regularly and attend your female health appointments. Mammograms are an important procedure for women over the age of 50, as most cancers found during a mammogram are at an early stage when they are too small to see or feel; meaning you may not have noticed a change in appearance or touch.

Female health checks across all ages are there to detect any early signs of abnormalities and cancer. It’s important to attend all of your female health checks and regularly examine yourself. Even if you’re showing no unusual symptoms, you must attend your checks as these can detect abnormalities before you start showing any symptoms. Early detection is key to effectively treating cancers; attending all appointments – even if you’re feeling well – is vital.

NHS routine female health checks

Depending on your age, there are routine female health tests available on the NHS. It's really important to attend these appointments, so if you're worried you should speak to your nurse or GP about any concerns you may have.

What female health checks do Bupa offer?

Alongside the NHS female health checks mentioned, you can get your health checked with us. We offer:

Cancer support

Our health insurance offers cancer support through our cancer care promise; if you are worried you may have cancer, you can call us directly and speak to our trained advisers about your symptoms. They will give you clear advice on what to do next.

Female health concerns

Our Bupa Blua Health digital GP service lets you talk to a doctor by video or phone call within 24 hours, day or night, about any female health concerns you have. You can even get medication delivered to your door. Calls are included in your health insurance and they won’t affect your claims.

Female health assessments

If you don’t have health insurance, you can talk through any female health concerns relating to breast and gynaecological health by booking a female health assessment at one of our Bupa Health Clinics.

Read how Bupa helped Anna during her cancer diagnosis and treatment

Our Women’s Health Hub

Our Women’s Health Hub explores key health concerns for women, from expert advice about particular conditions to screening information and even guides for the workplace.

Women's health hub

Interested in finding out more?

Here’s some useful female health articles you may be interested in.

Women turning to Google for 'abnormal' health worries

Recent research from Bupa Health Clinics reveals an increase in searches on Google for ‘abnormal’ women's health concerns.

Customers who live on the Isle of Man, or have a Bupa Standard, Bupa Premium or Bupa Your Choice policy, do not have access to Bupa Blua Health, but can access GP24 provided by HealthHero. Some corporate schemes don't include access to Bupa Blua Health or GP24, so please check your scheme documents or give us a call.

Bupa Blua Health prescriptions are private, so you’ll need to pay for your medication. There’s no extra charge for 'click and collect’ from a local pharmacy or for delivery to your door. Collection is usually available with 60 minutes, depending on your pharmacy opening hours, and selected pharmacies are open at weekends. Depending on your location, delivery to your door can be within 24 or 48 hours (other than on bank holidays).

Bupa Blua Health is provided by Bupa Insurance Services Limited, registered in England and Wales with number 3829851. Digital GP services are powered by eMed Healthcare UK Limited, registered in England and Wales with number 15086104, Registered Office: 184-192 Drummond Street, London, England, NW1 3HP.

Bupa health insurance is provided by Bupa Insurance Limited. Registered in England and Wales No.3956433. Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Arranged and administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851.

Bupa Health Assessments and Private GP services are provided by Bupa Occupational Health Limited. Registered in England and Wales No.631336. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HJ

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