Young women urged to have a smear test across the Bradford District

Published on 12/06/2017 at 11:55am

Women over the age of 25 are being encouraged to go for their cervical screenings across the district as part of Cervical Screening Awareness Week (12-18 June) as national figures show fewer women are having the test.

Efforts are being made across the district to raise the awareness of how important the tests are, Every year in the UK, over 3,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under.

Bradford Council has also published videos on its website featuring local women explaining why it was important for them to get tested when invited by their GP. (https://www.bradford.gov.uk/health/improve-your-health/advice-about-cancer-screening/)

The latest figures from NHS Digital show that, across the district, one in three women aged 25-49 are still not attending a cervical screening every three years and one in five women aged 50-64 are not attending a cervical screening every five years

Sarah Muckle, Public Health Consultant for Bradford Council, said: 

“Cervical screenings look for early abnormalities which can be treated before cancer has even has even developed. This is why it is vital everyone invited should get screened.”

“It’s also important you support from friends and family; particularly for women going to a screening for the first time Talking about the test does reassure people and encourage more women to attend screening.”

Dr Anne Connolly, NHS Bradford City CCG’s Clinical Lead for Women’s Health, women’s and sexual health said:

“Any woman is at risk of developing cervical cancer. It is very concerning that the number of women in the Bradford district attending their smear test is decreasing. It is vital for women to attend their cervical smear when called as this will save lives. The test takes just minutes and can be performed at a GP surgery by the practice nurse or GP or, if preferred, a local contraception service.

“If you have missed your smear test, it is never too late to book it in. You can always check with your GP surgery when your smear test is due.”

As part of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme, women aged 25-49 are invited to attend cervical screening (or a smear test) at their GP practice every three years, and women aged 50-64 are invited to attend every five years. Cervical screening isn’t a test for cancer; it’s a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix (the entrance to the womb). Most women’s test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.

The symptoms of cervical cancer aren’t always obvious, and it may not cause any symptoms at all until it’s reached an advanced stage. This is why it’s very important for women to attend all of their cervical screening appointments.

Dr Yasmin Khan, Associate Medical Director at NHS England in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “For some people the thought of going for a cervical smear test can be embarrassing, often people think it’s painful, or it can seem a scary or daunting prospect for other reasons. However, the test takes five minutes, it’s painless, and you really can’t put a price on taking the right steps early on to protect your health.

“It’s actually estimated that early detection and treatment through cervical screening can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers from developing in the UK. Therefore we want to urge all women who are eligible to attend their smear when they are invited, or book one if they’ve missed their last smear test by calling their GP.”

Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “Over 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the UK and every day we see the devastating impact a diagnosis has on women, their family and friends.

“It is estimated that the cervical screening programme saves around 4,500 lives a year in England so it is very concerning to see that uptake in West Yorkshire has decreased across every age group. I urge all eligible women in the area to take up their screening invitation when invited; it could save their life and take us closer to a future free from cervical cancer.”

For more information about the NHS Cervical Screening Programme visit www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cervical-screening-test

To find out more about Cervical Cancer Prevention Week visit the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website www.jostrust.org.uk.