Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, is supporting Cervical Screening Awareness Week (11-17 June) to highlight the potential life-saving benefits of cervical screening (smear tests).
Cervical screening prevents up to 75% of cervical cancers from developing and saves an estimated 5,000 lives across the UK every year. However, one in four women do not attend when invited.
During Cervical Screening Awareness Week, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s only dedicated charity for women affected by cervical cancer and abnormalities, is warning that more needs to be done to make it easier for women to access a screening appointment by ensuring that there are a range of appointment times available at their GP practice, more access at sexual health services and that new technologies such as self-sampling should be piloted.
Smear tests are largely delivered in GP practices with five million women invited every year in the UK. However, new research by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has found a worrying one in eight women find it difficult or even impossible to book an appointment. 7.4% of women were told no appointments at their GP practice were available the last time they tried to book.
About cervical cancer
- The majority (99.7%) of cervical cancers are caused by persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection which causes changes to the cervical cells
- 220,000 UK women are diagnosed with cervical abnormalities each year
- Over 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 890 women lose their lives every year
- Around 5 million UK women are invited to cervical screening each year yet one in four do not attend
- Women aged 25-49 are invited every three years and women aged 50-64 are invited every five years
Cervical Screening Awareness Week runs from 11-17 June and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has launched its report, ‘Computer says No’ which can be viewed here: http://www.jostrust.org.uk/access.The report looks at the accessibility of cervical screening in the UK.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“I am delighted to be supporting Cervical Screening Awareness Week, and the work of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. It’s extremely concerning that more than one in four women do not attend their smear test.
“Part of the reason for this is that many women find it hard to get an appointment time that suits them and I support Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s call for action by health services to increase access.”
Robert Music, CEO of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said:
“We’re delighted to have the support of Mr. Gwynne. It’s extremely concerning that despite cervical screening protecting against 75% of all cervical cancers, 1 in 4 women don’t attend, and that cervical screening coverage in England is at a 20 year low.
“Our research shows that access to cervical screening across the UK is unequal and inconsistent, which needs to change. We have a free Helpline where women can call if they have any questions about cervical screening, no question is too big or small. We would like all women to feel they can make an informed decision in attending this potentially life-saving test.”