Cervical Cancer Prevention week
It’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (17-23 January), Frimley Health and Care is raising awareness of cervical screening, and potential results, and encouraging women and people with a cervix not to ignore their invitation.
Cervical screening is a free health test that helps prevent cervical cancer. It checks for a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV) and, if you have HPV, cervical cell changes (abnormal cells).
Cervical screening isn’t always easy, and with COVID it can be even harder. Across Frimley Health and Care we are encouraging sharing of tips and experiences to help others feel more able to attend.
However cervical cancer prevention doesn't stop at screening. 220,000 women and people with a cervix every year are told they have cervical cell changes after their screening, and many more given a HPV diagnosis. This can mean more tests and treatments, and for some it can be an incredibly hard time.
By sharing stories and tips during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week the aim is to make those facing an unexpected result know they aren’t alone.
Samantha Dixon, Chief Executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust: “We want everyone to have the support and facts they need to access cervical screening and deal with an unexpected result. Cervical screening can help stop cervical cancer before it starts so it’s an incredibly important test. Help raise awareness by sharing your story this week and show others they aren’t alone”
Dr Lalitha Iyer, GP and Executive Medical Director for NHS Frimley Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“I can’t stress enough the importance of women having regular cervical screening. It is estimated that the screening programme saves 5,000 lives each year in the UK, yet 22 per cent of women are not attending their cervical screening test annually.
“During the early stages, cervical cancer will not often have any symptoms and the best way for it to be detected is through screening. Any abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix can be identified at an early stage and, if necessary, treated to stop cancer developing. Prevention is the key to improving survival rates and cervical screening will save lives.
“The test is usually carried out by a practice nurse. It is quick, simple and nothing to worry about. In around 95% of cases the test comes back normal and most abnormal cases are easily treated and will never develop into cancer if caught in time.”
If you have received an invitation for screening, have missed your smear or are due to be screened, please get in touch with your GP surgery to arrange an appointment – it may well save your life.
For more information about cervical cancer screening, go to www.nhs.uk or the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust charity www.jostrust.org.uk.