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Chair's blog

Make sure to attend your cervical screening

03 June 2019

Next week (10-16 June) is Cervical Screening Awareness Week, and I want to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of screening in helping to prevent cervical cancer, and to encourage as many women as possible to book their appointment.

Cervical screening - also known as the smear test - is one of the best ways to protect against cervical cancer. The test, which takes around five minutes, checks the health of your cervix and detects abnormal cell changes that, if left untreated, could develop into cancer. The programme saves an estimated 5,000 lives every year, but sadly the number of women attending the screenings nationally is at a 20-year low, with one in four people not going. This needs to change, because screening really is the frontline in protecting people against cancer.

All women aged 25-64 should be invited to attend a screening every 3-5 years. If you don’t receive an invite, please contact your GP. Also, if you experience any symptoms, like unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge between screenings, visit your GP.

I know that cervical screening can be uncomfortable and embarrassing for some women, and this may be preventing them from attending. You can make it a better experience by wearing loose clothing, practising breathing exercises, bringing something to read or listen to, or bringing along a friend or family member to support you. If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or nurse.

For more information, visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening