Cervical Cancer Prevention Week starts today

Dr Phil Earnshaw
Dr Phil Earnshaw

A Wakefield doctor has urged young women to keep up to date with testing as the fight against cervical cancer intensifies.

Statistics released on the eve of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week showed a quarter of young women did not attend in Wakefield for a smear test.

Young women aged 25 to 49 are also four per cent less likely to take a screening test than women aged 50 to 64.

Yet every year in the UK, over 3,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. It is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under.

NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging all young women to attend their cervical smear test when invited – it could save lives.

Dr Phil Earnshaw, chair of NHS Wakefield CCG said: “Cervical cancer can often be prevented. The signs that it may develop can be spotted early on so it can be stopped before it even gets started. Around 900 women die of cervical cancer in England each year. However, many of those who develop it have not been screened regularly. Not going for cervical screening is one of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer.”

The research from the Health and Social Care Information Centre also shows that the number of women of all eligible ages having a smear test in Wakefield is decreasing year-on-year.

Dr Yasmin Khan, associate medical director of NHS England North said: “We understand that going for a cervical smear test can be daunting but a cervical screening test takes five minutes, is painless, and if you attend each time you’re invited it provides a high degree of protection against developing cervical cancer.

“It’s estimated that early detection and treatment through cervical screening can prevent up to 75 percent of cervical cancers from developing in the UK. We want to urge all women who are eligible to attend their smear when they are invited, or book one if they’ve missed their last smear test by calling their GP, and ensure they stay healthy.”

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. It is detecting and treating these abnormal cells before they might become cancerous that makes having this test so important.

To find out more about Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (January 24 to 30) visit www.jostrust.org.uk. For more information about cervical cancer and the NHS Cervical Screening Programme visit www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-cervix.