Plea for women not to ignore their screening invite


One person in three ignores their cervical screening appointment

“Don’t ignore your invite” – that’s the plea from the NHS Thames Valley Cancer Alliance to women during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week this week.

Two women die every day from cervical cancer in England, but it’s one of the most preventable cancers.  Cervical screening can help stop it before it starts.

The campaign encourages those people who receive an invite for cervical screening, to book an appointment at their GP practice, especially if they missed their last ‘smear test’.

Currently one person in three ignores their cervical screening appointment.  This leads to 1 in 142 people being diagnosed with cervical cancer in their lifetime.

All women and people with a cervix aged 25-64 are eligible for screening. Those registered as female with their GP practice are invited for routine screening every three years if they are aged 25-49, and every five years if they are aged 50-64. People registered as male need to request an appointment from their GP or a local sexual health clinic.

For most, cervical screening tests are not painful.   Anyone who is worried that they may find the test uncomfortable is reminded they are in control and can ask to stop at any time.

Dr Shelley Hayles is an Oxfordshire GP and the Alliance’s Clinical Lead for Cancer Faster Diagnosis.   She said: “Cervical screening lasts just a few minutes, just once every three or five years depending on your age. It’s a few minutes that could save your life.”

Screening helps prevent cervical cancer by checking for the high-risk HPV virus which causes nearly all cervical cancers. This is the best way to find out who is at higher risk of developing the cell changes that, over time, could potentially lead to cervical cancer. 

Dr Hayles added: “Any cervical cell changes can be treated, preventing cervical cancer, but even if you’ve had the HPV vaccination, for your protection, you should still have your regular cervical screening, when you get your invite.”

Anyone who does have HPV shouldn’t be alarmed as it doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer – it’s a common virus that most people will get at some point in their lives and can be easily treated.

More information is available here.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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