Health officials from the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are encouraging women to attend their cervical screening in order to catch cervical cancer early and prevent its further spread.
Dr Mary McCarthy, a GP in Staffordshire with a special interest in cervical cancer, said: “Cervical cancer affects around 3,000 women in the UK every year, making it the most common form of cancer for women under the age of 35. According to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, 75 per cent of these cases can be prevented through testing.
“Women aged 25 to 49 are offered screening every three years and 50 to 64-year-olds are every five years. You need to get a cervical screening whether you are sexually active or not, and no matter your sexuality.
“The number of women in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent who book their cervical screening, also known as a smear test, has been falling over the past few years. In 2018, only 73.5 per cent of eligible women attended their cervical screening appointment.
“When it's time for your next smear test, you will be sent a letter inviting you to make an appointment. It’s a quick and simple procedure which makes sure cervical cancer is spotted early – when it is easier to treat. Contact your GP if you think you may be overdue.”
This year, Cervical Cancer Prevention Week begins on Monday (21 January). The aim is to raise awareness of cervical cancer and the importance of screening. Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “Cervical screening is the best way to help prevent cervical cancer. Yet screening uptake in England is at a 21-year low. This is especially concerning as we are seeing the number of diagnoses rise.
“That is why during this year’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, it is more important than ever to ensure that people understand the steps they can take to reduce their risk of this disease.”
For more information on cervical cancer and what the screening test involves, visit www.nhs.uk/cervicalcancer