Public Health England has launched a major national campaign this week to encourage more women to attend their cervical screening.
The ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’ campaign which was launched on 5th March follows recent data showing that the number of women attending screening has fallen to a 20-year low.
Around 2,600 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year, and around 690 women die from the disease, which is 2 deaths every day. It is estimated that if everyone attended screening regularly, 83% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented.
Dr Neil Smith, local award winning GP and Cancer Lead for Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups said:
“Cervical screening checks the health of your cervix. It is not a test for cancer, it’s a test to help prevent cancer by detecting early abnormalities in the cervix, so they can be treated. If these abnormalities are left untreated they can lead to cancer of the cervix (the neck of the womb). I would recommend that every woman invited should have the test. We know that on average cervical screening helps save the lives of approximately 4,500 women in England every year.”
Professor Anne Mackie, Director of Screening Programmes at Public Health England, said:
“The decline in numbers getting screened for cervical cancer is a major concern as it means millions of women are missing out on a potentially life-saving test. Two women die every day in England from cervical cancer, yet it is one of the most preventable cancers if caught early.
“We want to see a future generation free of cervical cancer but we will only achieve our vision if women take up their screening invitations. This is a simple test which takes just five minutes and could save your life. It’s just not worth ignoring.”
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under. Despite this, more than 20 per cent of women invited for screening do not attend. Cervical screening can prevent around 45% of cervical cancer cases in women in their 30s, rising with age to 75 per cent in women in their 50s and 60s, who attend regularly.
As well as attending for screening when you are invited, other signs to look out for include any abnormal bleeding or unpleasant discharge or pain after sex. If you notice anything unusual, make an appointment to see your doctor and get it checked out.
For further information on cervical cancer and smear tests visit:http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/cervical-cancer/about/cervical-cancer-screening