Raising awareness of cervical cancer screening

Over 220,000 women are diagnosed with cell changes every year in the UK following their smear test – a vital first step in preventing the development of cervical cancer.

This week’s Cervical Screening Awareness Week is highlighting the fact that 80 per cent of women treated for these early cell changes never experience a recurrence.

The consequences of cervical cancer can be devastating and screening is an important prevention tool. That why it is so important that women have all the facts and information to hand about what screening and treatment involves.

The charity Jo’s Trust has produced an excellent jargon buster to help make sense of medical terms and reduce anxiety. I’ve reproduced it above, or you can download a copy by clicking here.

Jo’s Trust also surveyed over 1,500 women about their experience of having cervical cell changes and has made many important recommendations on how treatment and aftercare can be improved. Its report, Not so simple. The impact of cervical cell changes and treatment’, finds that too many women having treatment for cervical cell changes are not being informed about potential side effects. High numbers remain fearful of their cancer risk many years after treatment.

Cervical screening uptake in England is at a 21-year low with more than a quarter of women not attending. This means more women are being given a diagnosis that could have been prevented.

We need to do more to encourage women to attend.

In fact, cervical screening coverage is just 67.1 per cent in Liverpool, which means that almost one in three eligible women do not attend a screening appointment although they receive a letter inviting them for the test.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust previous research found young women who delay or don’t go for cervical screening feel scared and embarrassed. Yet, cervical screening prevents up to 75 per cent of cervical cancers developing.

That is why it is so important we get all the facts out there and push for services to listen to the experiences of women to ensure they constantly improve

If you think you have missed a test or want to find out more, you can ring the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust on 0808 802 8000.