Thousands putting lives at risk by not taking up offer of smear test - The Leamington Observer

Thousands putting lives at risk by not taking up offer of smear test

Leamington Editorial 21st Jan, 2019   0

THOUSANDS of women in south Warwickshire are putting their lives at risk by failing to take up the offer of a smear test.

One in four women – 18,000 in total – in the area are not taking up their cervical screening coverage invitation. Nationally attendance has declined for the fourth consecutive year.

NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reminding women of the importance of attending regular smear tests for cervical cancer and is supporting the #SmearForSmear 2019 campaign.

Every year in the UK around 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. Two women lose their lives to the disease every day and it is the most common cancer in women aged under 35.




But thanks to screening and the HPV vaccination programme, 75 per cent of cervical cancers can be prevented.

Women aged 25 to 49 are invited for cervical screening, also known as a smear test, every three years. After that, it is every five years until the age of 64.


For younger women, HPV vaccinations can help prevent seven out of ten cervical cancers, and these are routinely given to girls across the country aged 12 and 13. This is a vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection that causes changes to the cervical cells and is responsible for nearly all cervical cancers.

Dr Jill Crowfoot, a local GP and lead for gynaecology for South Warwickshire CCG, said: “As we see screening coverage go down year on year, we are also seeing the numbers diagnosed with cervical cancer rise. So, we are urging all women aged 25 to 64 not to miss out on a vital smear test as it could save their life.

“Cervical screening is not a test for cancer. Screening actually prevents cancer by detecting early abnormalities in the cervix, so they can be treated. During the early stages, cervical cancer will not often have any symptoms and the best way for it to be detected is through screening. Prevention is the key to improving survival rates and cervical screening will save lives.”

The #SmearForSmear 2019 campaign is run by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, a UK charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities.

Visit www.jostrust.org.uk for further details.

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