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6th March 2019

PHE launches ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’ campaign

On Tuesday 5th March, Public Health England (PHE) announced a new national campaign, ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’, with the aim of increasing cervical screening attendance across England. Current data shows that the number of women having their smear test has fallen to a 20-year low, with 1 in 4 eligible women (aged 25 to 64) not attending.

To tackle this, the campaign – run with the support of NHS England and charity partners like Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Eve Appeal – will emphasise the importance of cervical screening via new advertising on TV and elsewhere, and a cascade of information through GP surgeries and pharmacies. It will provide practical information about making smears more comfortable and reassure those eligible that the screening is not a test for cancer, but rather pre-cancerous changes. 

Smear tests identify potentially harmful cells before they become cancerous and ensure women get the correct treatment as soon as possible. Because of this, regular screening can help stop cervical cancer before it starts. The test only takes a few minutes, and PHE research shows that once women have been screened,  8 in 10 (87%) are ‘glad they went’ and that they were ‘put at ease by the nurse or doctor doing the test’ (84%). 

Professor Anne Mackie, Director of Screening Programmes at PHE said:

‘The decline in numbers getting screened for cervical cancer is a major concern as it means millions of women are missing out on a potentially life-saving test. Two women die every day in England from cervical cancer, yet it is one of the most preventable cancers if caught early.

We want to see a future generation free of cervical cancer but we will only achieve our vision if women take up their screening invitations. This is a simple test which takes just five minutes and could save your life. It’s just not worth ignoring.’

In England, around 2,600 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year; it is estimated that if everyone attended regular screening 83% of these cases could be prevented. London Gynaecology wholeheartedly supports any campaign seeking to build awareness of cervical screening and prevention. ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’ is a helpful step towards demystifying cervical cancer and empowering more women to go to their smear test.

For further information about cervical screening, please search ‘NHS Cervical Screening’ or view the NHS Cervical Screening resourcesLondon Gynaecology also have a number of blogs on the topic of cervical cancer prevention, including How To Make Your Smear More Comfortable and Common Cervical Health Questions. If you have any further questions, feel free to call us on 0207 10 11 700.

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