WOMEN across Worcestershire are being urged to play their part in cervical cancer prevention by making sure they go for their smear tests.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week began today (Monday) and runs until Sunday, January 22 to 28 and public health leaders in the county are using the event to raise awareness of cervical screening.
Statistics show that everyday in the UK two women lose their lives to cervical cancer and nine more receive a life-changing diagnosis. In the future, these statistics could be zero.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) aims for 70 per cent of women to have cervical screening between the ages of 35 and 45 as part of their global strategy for cervical cancer elimination.
Worcestershire is already beating that figure with 73.4 per cent of women aged between 25 and 49 being screened for cervical cancer (sometimes referred to as a smear test) in 2022.
The top three areas from screening in county are Bromsgrove, Malvern Hills and Wyre Forest districts who all have a screening rate of over 77 per cent of those eligible.
Those aged 50 to 64 are also doing their bit to smash targets – in 2022, 77.6 per cent of women in Worcestershire were screened.
Lisa McNally, Director of Public Health in Worcestershire said: “Thank you to everyone who has attended their cervical screening appointment.
“You are all looking after your health and playing your part to wipe out cervical cancer for good.
“The global elimination of cervical cancer through screening and HPV vaccination is ambitious, but also very possible.
“So when you receive your invitation to screening, please respond.
“And if you missed your last one, please book an appointment with your GP.
“It’s a few minutes that could save your life.”
Public Health Worcestershire is working with partners to help even more people get screened – including offering evening clinics between 5.30 and 7.30pm and on Saturday mornings, along with drop-in clinics at weekends.
Those aged between 25 and 64 are eligible for routine screening which is every three years for the 25 to 49-year-olds and every five years for women aged 50 to 64.
Early cervical cancers and pre-cancerous cell changes do not usually have symptoms. One in 142 will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in their lifetime (Cancer Research UK 2021), but not everyone will have symptoms.
Cervical cancer symptoms
The most common symptoms of cervical cancer include:
- Unusual vaginal bleeding.
- Pain or discomfort during sex.
- Abnormal vaginal discharge.
- Pain in the pelvis (the area between the hip bones).
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is run by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s leading cervical cancer charity.
It provides information and support to anyone affected and campaigns for excellence in cervical cancer treatment, care and prevention.
Visit jostrust.org.uk or call the free, confidential national helpline on 0808 802 8000 for more information.
Go to nhs.uk/cervicalcancer for more on NHS screening for the condition.