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RCOG statement: Cervical cancer prevention week

News 25 January 2016

This week (24-30 January) is cervical cancer prevention week (CCPW), a UK-wide initiative led by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. It aims to highlight symptoms and causes of cervical cancer and the importance of vaccination and cervical screening (smear test) in preventing cervical cancer. 

Squamous cell carcinoma in the cervixEvery day in the UK, eight women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and three will lose their lives to the disease. 99.7% of cases of cervical cancer are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, however vaccination against HPV can provide protection against the two high-risk types of HPV that cause 70% of all cervical cancers.

Cervical screening can also protect women against cervical cancer because it detects pre-cancer abnormalities, which, if left untreated, may develop into cancer.

Dr Clare McKenzie, consultant gynaecologist and Vice President for Education at the RCOG said,

“Raising public awareness of HPV vaccination and cervical screening is vital as early detection and early treatment increases survival rates. Women can reduce their chances of developing cervical cancer by stopping smoking.

“The RCOG strongly encourages parents of girls, and girls who are of age, to take up the HPV vaccination. However, the vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV, nor other causes of cervical cancer, so women still need to attend their screening sessions.

“If you are worried about having the smear test, or worried about any symptoms such as abnormal bleeding or discomfort or pain during sex, please seek advice from your GP or practice nurse.”


For more information please contact Hilary Glover, Media and PR Officer, on 020 7772 6537 or

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s digital campaign #smearforsmear encourages women to attend cervical screening. For further information on how to get involved visit:

For more information on cervical cancer visit NHS Choices and more information on cervical screening can be found on the Public Health England website.

To find out more about Cervical Cancer Screening AwarenessWeek or how to get involved visit Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.