This week is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, a European-wide initiative led by the European Cervical Cancer Association (ECCA). It aims to raise awareness of cervical cancer and how it can be prevented.
Every day 9 women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 3 women will lose their lives to the disease. Cervical cancer is largely preventable thanks to cervical screening and the HPV vaccination programme.
However, recent figures suggest that 1 in 5 women in the UK fail to attend screening and this number rises to 1 in 3 women for young women aged 25 – 29. The most recent figures show a rise in the number of diagnosed cases for women aged 25-29 from 352 in 2010 to 427 in 2011.
A survey conducted by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s only dedicated cervical cancer charity, examined the reasons young women delayed cervical screening. They included; viewing screening as an unnecessary health test and concerns that it would be painful and embarrassing.
Dr Clare McKenzie, Vice President for Education at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said:
“Regular cervical screening is vital for women as it can detect pre-cancer abnormalities, which, if left untreated, may develop into cancer. Screening is for people without symptoms as a preventative measure.
“Not being screened regularly is one of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer along with other risk factors including smoking, obesity and inadequate sexual healthcare.
“If you are worried about having the smear test or worried about any symptoms you should talk to your GP.
“Early detection is key to increasing survival rates, so we must continue to raise awareness and educate on the disease, its symptoms and ways to prevent it.
“In addition, the RCOG strongly encourages parents and girls who are of age to take up the offer of the HPV vaccine in order to reduce morbidity and mortality from this preventable cancer.”
For further information, please contact the RCOG Media and PR team on +44 20 7772 6300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has launched a digital campaign #smearforsmear encouraging women to attend cervical screening. For further information visit: jostrust.org/smearforsmear
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 Prevention Week or how to get involved visit Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.