A campaign aimed at encouraging 25 year olds to attend their cervical screening has been launched across Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire.
Dr Neil Smith, local GP and Cancer Lead for Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups, has launched a new campaign called “25 its time” ahead of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (22-29 January), to encourage 25 year olds to attend their cervical screening.
Women aged 25-30 are less likely to accept an invitation for screening than those in their 30s and 40s. Practices across Pennine Lancashire are working together to improve uptake. Each practice has a nominated cancer champion who attended a recent training course on how to support more 25 year olds to have a smear.
The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the importance to attend screening and to use the hashtag #25itstime on social media to help promote these messages to young women. It has been organised in partnership with Cancer Research UK and Jo’s Trust.
Dr Smith said:
“The simple message of our campaign is “25 its time” for your first smear. It is very important and topical during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. Over 3000 women are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many people are not aware that it is more common in younger women with half of the cases diagnosed in women under the age of 45.
“Cervical screening is a way of preventing cancer by finding and treating abnormal cells in the cervix. These changes could lead to cancer if left untreated.
“Our work has shown that only about 1/3 of 25 year olds invited for their first smear actually attend. The G.P. practices in Pennine Lancashire are trying to improve this by contacting young women with cards, text and telephone calls reminding them and booking an appointment for a smear test.
“Having regular screening offers protection against developing cervical cancer and prevents 1000s of deaths from cancer.”
Symptoms of cervical cancer can include:
• Lower back pain
• Pain during intercourse
• Bleeding: during or after sex, or in between periods
• Post-menopausal bleeding
• Unusual discharge
If you have any of these symptoms, you should contact your GP as soon as possible.
This year’s theme for Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is “reduce your risk”. All women can help to reduce their risk by attending their screening when invited and being aware of the symptoms.
For information and support on cervical cancer, contact Jo’s Trust; a charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. Visit www.jostrust.org.uk or call 0808 802 8000.
To keep up to date on the “25 it’s time” campaign search using the hashtag #25itstime on Facebook and Twitter.