According to information published by Public Health England, one in four eligible women do not take up their cervical screening invitation in the UK.
In Wirral, this figure amounts to thousands as more than a quarter of Wirral’s 83,000 eligible women miss their smear tests while screening rates drop to a 20-year low nationally.
The figures are announced alongside the launch of a new national campaign, to raise awareness of the risks of cervical cancer, highlighting the benefits of screening. The ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’ campaign reminds women that cervical screening can stop cancer before it starts.
It is estimated that cervical screening saves around 5,000 lives each year. While screening can be uncomfortable and even a little embarrassing, the procedure is also swift, simple and could potentially save your life.
The Public Health England campaign, which launched on 5th March, encourages all women to respond to their cervical screening invitation letters, and if they missed previous invites, to book an appointment at their GP practice.
Everyone with a cervix, which is most women and many trans people, between the ages of 25 and 64 is invited to attend cervical screening every three or five years depending on their age.
The screening test, which only lasts a few minutes, is not a test for cancer. In fact, attending regular screening can help stop cervical cancer before it starts by preventing potentially harmful cells from developing.
The ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’ campaign empowers women with the knowledge and tools to get screened. Advice on making the screening test more comfortable includes:
- Talk to your nurse – they are trained and experienced in how to make your test comfortable.
- Wear a loose skirt or dress, you may feel more covered during your appointment.
- Take a friend or family member with you if it will help you feel more comfortable.
For more information, visit: http://www.nhs.uk/cervicalscreening