As part of Cervical Screening Awareness Week, which runs from 12-18 June, East Riding residents are being urged to take up their cervical screening invitations after statistics showed that one in five women fail to book and attend their smear tests. That’s 20% who are throwing away the chance to detect the changes that could lead to cervical cancer and could be treated at an early stage.
As part of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme, women aged 25-49 are invited to attend a cervical screening (or a smear test) at their GP practice every three years, and women aged 50-64 are invited to attend every five years. Cervical screening isn’t a test for cancer; it’s a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix (the entrance to the womb). Most women’s test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women, the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.
The symptoms of cervical cancer aren’t always obvious, and it may not cause any symptoms at all until it’s reached an advanced stage. This is why it’s very important for women to attend all of their cervical screening appointments.
The test takes as little as approximately three minutes and East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Public Health team is encouraging people to put aside any embarrassment they feel in order to benefit from the long-term gain.
Any female can be affected regardless of their age, lifestyle choices or ethnicity and it’s important to spread the message that a simple test can help prevent this devastating disease.
Dr Tim Allison, Director of Public Health at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: ‘Cervical screening is an important opportunity for women to check their health and, where treatment is needed, it can be done at a much earlier stage. I would encourage women in the East Riding to respond to their invitation for screening.’
For more information about the NHS Cervical Screening Programme visit www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cervical-screening-test
For more information about cervical cancer and symptoms visit Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s website www.jostrust.org.uk