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Early diagnosis of cervical cancer is crucial

In the UK, everyday around nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and two lose their lives. 75% of Cervical Cancers can be prevented through Cervical Screening.

As this is Cervical Cancer Prevention week (21st -27th January 2019), Public Health is encouraging all eligible women to get screened to detect cervical cancer at an early stage.

Muriel Scott, Director of Public Health at Bedford Borough Council said:

“Cervical cancer is largely preventable thanks to cervical screening and HPV vaccination. Screening allows for the detection of cervical cancer at an early stage and the programme is estimated to save 4500 lives every year.

“Screening uptake is at a 21 year low and it is important that we use every opportunity to encourage women to accept their invitation when they receive it.”

Decline in screening remains an issue

Continuous decline in uptake of cervical screening especially in younger women remains an issue both locally and nationally.

There are two major ways in which the risk of developing cervical cancer can be reduced. One of them is vaccination against human papilloma virus (HPV) and the other one is cervical screening.

Regular cervical screening is the best way to identify abnormal changes. Around 1 in 20 women have an abnormal result after a cervical screening. If not treated, these changes could develop into cancer in the future.

Cllr Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Public Health said:

“In Bedford Borough, the most recent data shows Cervical Screening uptake is 68.9 % among women aged 25-49yrs and 76.1% among women aged 50-64yrs. Both of these rates are well below the national target of 80%.”

Contact your GP to confirm your screening appointment

Women aged 25-49 are offered screening every 3 years and women aged 50-64 are offered screening every 5 years. For those over 65, screening is only offered if you haven’t been screened since the age of 50 or have had recent abnormal tests.

Screening remains one of the best methods of early diagnosis. Therefore ring your GP surgery confirming when the screening appointment is due. Also, contact your GP if you think you may have missed your test.

For more information see https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/ or visit https://www.jostrust.org.uk for more information.