NHS Cervical Screening Programme saves an estimated 5,000 lives a year
Women between the ages of 25 and 64 in Luton and Bedfordshire are being reminded of the importance of cervical screening.
The NHS Cervical Screening Programme was established in 1988. Since then, there has been a significant reduction in the mortality rate from cervical cancer. Saving an estimated 5,000 lives a year.
But, figures published by NHS Digital show that the number of women screened is at a 20-year low. One in four women are failing to respond to GP invites to make an appointment to have this simple, but potentially life-saving, health check.
To reverse this worrying trend, Public Health England is launching the first ever national campaign to raise awareness of the risks of cervical cancer and the preventative benefits of screening, which is also known as a smear test.
NHS England advises women aged between 25 and 49 to have a cervical screening every three years, while those aged 50 to 64 should be screened every five years.
Women ages between 25 to 35 most likely to ignore the test
Although the number of women getting tested has fallen generally, research shows it is women between the ages of 25 to 35 who are least likely to attend a screening appointment.
GP and Luton CCG’s lead clinician for cancer care, Dr Anitha Bolanthur, said:
“Cervical screening is nothing to be worried or embarrassed about, and every woman should view it as an essential part of their healthcare. If they have any concerns about taking the test they should discuss them with their GP or practice nurse.”
There are around 2,600 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in England each year and two women every day die from the disease. Cervical screening can stop cancer before it starts by preventing potentially harmful cells from developing.
Dr Saheli Chaudhury is a GP with a specialist interest in women’s health and Bedfordshire CCG’s lead for cancer care.
“I am very much a ‘prevention is better than cure’ type of doctor and five minutes having a test can be potentially life-saving. I encourage all women to get tested regularly.”
Don’t ignore your cervical screening invitation. If you missed your last screening, book an appointment with your GP surgery now – it could save your life.
For more information, visit www.nhs.uk/cervicalscreening