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28th May 2019

Spotlight On Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

London Gynaecology’s Consultant Gynaecologist Narendra Pisal is running South Africa’s Comrades Ultra Marathon on 9th June this year. He is running to raise funds for two charities very close to his heart –The Eve Appeal and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. In this article, we offer a run-down on Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, including its origins and aims for the future of women’s health.

What is Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust? 

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to women, their families and friends affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. They provide high quality information and support, campaigning for excellent cervical cancer treatment and prevention – with the aim of seeing cervical cancer prevented and its impact reduced. Their vision is a future without cervical cancer.

How did it all begin? 

Jo’s Trust was established in 1999 by James Maxwell, after his wife Jo passed away from cervical cancer at just 40 years of age. Jo felt her diagnosis was due to a combination of factors; her admission to having little knowledge about the causes and symptoms of cervical cancer, her reluctance to challenge medical advice, and the inadequate screening and medical advice she received. Jo’s hope was that every woman affected by this disease could get the support and information they needed in the future.

How are they making their vision to eradicate cervical cancer a reality? 

Jo’s Trust commissioned research projecting cervical cancer incidence and mortality in England until 2040 factoring in changes to the vaccination and screening programmes and variations in uptake. By 2022, they want to see:

  • 10% reduction in incidence of cervical cancer across the UK
  • 100% of women told about Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust on their screening invitation
  • 66% of women diagnosed with cervical cancer made aware of the charity
  • Cervical screening coverage to reach 80%
  • HPV vaccination coverage to get to 92%

They plan to get there by:

  1. Ensuring everyone affected by cervical cancer has access to the best treatment, support and information
  2. Ensuring significantly greater numbers of women eligible for cervical screening or the HPV vaccination ‘truly’ understand the importance of cervical cancer prevention, making an informed choice and taking up the offer
  3. Running targeted national campaigns to see improvements and change in health policy and practice
  4. Championing quality in local health practice to promote and ensure access to the best cervical cancer prevention and treatment programmes
  5. Building and fostering partnerships both across the UK and worldwide that will enable them to have the greatest impact possible
  6. At least doubling sustainable funding by 2022

Where might your money go? 

  • It costs £12,000 to run their Lets Meet event – an annual informal information and support day for women and their loved ones affected by cervical cancer.
  • The annual cost of their Ask the Expert service, which enables women and their loved ones to receive direct confidential responses from a medical professional, costs £19,000.
  • £5000 will cover the cost of a Mini Meet event, which provides women and their families the opportunity to connect with others, share experiences and get answers to their questions in a relaxed and supportive environment.

Why we are supporting Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

Last year, over 3,200 women were given a life-changing diagnosis of cervical cancer, and 890 women sadly lost their lives to the disease. A further 220,000 women are told every year they have a cervical abnormality that may require treatment. Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women under 35.

Largely, it can be prevented. Cervical screening protects against 75% of cervical cancers, and every year in the UK an estimated 5,000 lives are saved through the national cervical screening programme (also known as a smear test). Despite this, cervical screening attendance is falling and 1 in 4 women fail to attend their smear test.

Jo’s Trust are doing crucial work when it comes to both raising awareness and uptake of cervical screening, and dealing with cervical cancer itself after diagnosis.

Mr Pisal says“I have chosen to support Jo’s Trust and Eve Appeal. I am passionate about women’s health but sadly as a gynaecologist I see many patients who have been affected by a gynaecological cancer. Every day in the UK, 58 women are diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer and 21 will die. There is still a lot of work to do in raising the awareness, discovering new treatments and ultimately supporting women and their families through these diseases. These two charities are doing great work to bring gynaecological cancers to the forefront, onto the agenda and support groundbreaking research.” 

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