Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2020

Thousands missing potentially life-saving cervical screening test

Thousands of women in Chorley and South Ribble are putting their lives at risk as they fail to take up the offer of a smear test. The latest figures reveal that last year more than 10,000 women have failed to attend the smear test as of the 30th June 2019, putting them at increased risk of developing cervical cancer.

NHS Chorley and South Ribble Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reminding women of the importance of attending regular smear tests for cervical cancer and is supporting the #SmearTheStigma 2020 campaign, which runs from 20-26 January.

Women aged 25 to 49 are invited for cervical screening, also known as a smear test, every three years. After that, women are invited every five years until the age of 64. Since the introduction of cervical screening in the 1980s, the number of cervical cancer cases has decreased by about 7% each year across England.

For younger women, HPV vaccinations can help prevent seven out of 10 cervical cancers, and these are routinely given to girls across the country aged 12 and 13. This is a vaccination against the persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection that causes changes to the cervical cells and is responsible for nearly all cervical cancers.

Cervical cancer affects around 3,000 women in the UK every year, making it the most common form of cancer for women under the age of 35. According to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, 75% of these cases can be prevented through testing.

Dr Lindsey Dickinson, Chair and Clinical Leader, said: “We are urging all women aged 25-64 not to miss out on a vital smear test as it could save their life.

“Cervical screening is not a test for cancer. Screening detects early abnormalities in the cervix, so they can be treated before cancer develops. 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.”

Cervical screening is a quick and simple procedure which makes sure abnormal cells are spotted early – when it is easier to treat. If anyone thinks that they are overdue for a screening test, it’s important to contact their GP.

Women can find out more about what to expect at their appointment by watching this video

For more information on cervical cancer and what the screening test involves, click here