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People urged to attend life-saving cervical screenings

People in Bradford district and Craven are urged to go for potentially life-saving cervical screening.

The plea, which leads up to Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (20-27 January 2020), has been issued as nearly a third of women in our area do not take up the offer of a screening test.

As part of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme, women aged 25-49 are invited for a smear test at their GP practice every three years, while those aged 50-64 receive an invitation for screening every five years. Cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect against cervical cancer. 

If you are overdue for your cervical screening test or are not sure when you are due, people can get in touch with their GP practice.

Cervical screening is moving to a test for the human papillomavirus (HPV) first. In the majority of cases, a HPV infection goes away without doing the body any harm. Sometimes it causes cells to change which, if not treated, could develop into cervical cancer. Testing for HPV is a far more accurate test estimated to prevent almost 500 diagnoses of cervical cancer every year. 

Smear for smear logo 2017

Dr Anne Connolly, GP and clinical lead for maternity, women's health and sexual health for Bradford district and Craven clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), said: “Many people worry about their cervical screening test. But it’s often reassuring to know that you are welcome to take a friend or relative along with you to your appointment. The nurses, GPs or local contraception service who carry out the test are there to support and make it as easy as possible for you.  They are happy to have a chat before you book your smear test to discuss any concerns or questions you may have.

“Cervical screening takes just a few minutes and is so important to help to spot any early signs of cancer. The symptoms of cervical cancer are not usually obvious and you may not get any symptoms until it’s reached an advanced stage. That’s why screening is one of the best ways to protect against cervical cancer.

“It’s important to remember that you are still at risk of cervical cancer even if you have had the HPV vaccine as it does not protect you from all types of HPV. Anybody with a cervix who had had any kind of sexual contact is at risk of cervical cancer, including those who are lesbian, bisexual or transgender.”

People can book an appointment for cervical screening through their GP practice. There are appointments available in the evenings until 9.30pm. These appointments may be at your usual practice or another NHS service nearby and can be booked by contacting your GP practice.

For more information about cervical screening and what to expect visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening 

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

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