Cervical Screening Awareness Week – have you been tested?

10 June 2013

CERVICAL Screening Awareness Week (CSAW) runs from 9 to 15 June and is aimed at highlighting the importance of women visiting their local GP practice for cervical screening (smear test), to reduce the number of women who develop and die from cervical cancer.

At least 20 per cent of females in the UK sidestep screening invitations sent from the Health Service Cervical Screening Programme each year, so raising public awareness is a priority.

Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, but a method of detecting abnormalities at an early stage in the cells within the cervix, giving a better chance of successful treatment before the cells can develop into cancer.

Tests can be taken by your local GP or practice nurse, with the option of having the test carried out by a female doctor or nurse. In addition to this, screening can be carried out at local family planning or sexual health clinics.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in age groups of 35 and under and around 3,000 women are diagnosed with this illness each year in the UK. The exact cause of cervical cancer is unknown but certain factors are linked to its development. These include the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is linked to around 95 per cent of all cases and cigarette smoking which increases the risk by half.

The biggest risk, however, is non-attendance for cervical screening, which can prevent around 75 per cent of cancers in women who attend regularly.

Dr Cathy Fines, GP Partner at the Uplands Medical Practice and clinical lead for women’s health at Bury Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It’s so important for women to go for regular cervical screening tests. Many young women think they’re not at risk, but cervical cancer doesn't just affect older women.

“Early detection can prevent the disease and clear any problematic cells. The test is here to pick up problems and can potentially save your life.”

If you are unclear about when your next screening test should be, or if you have any questions about the NHS Cervical Screening Programme, contact your local GP or practice nurse today.

For more information about Cervical Screening Awareness Week, visit www.jostrust.org.uk.

ENDS

For further enquiries, contact Nosheen Idrees, Communications and Engagement Officer, on 07795 507462.

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