Every year in the UK, over 3,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer which is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under.
This year across Kirklees only 75% of eligible young women had a smear test compared to 81% of women aged 50-64. The research from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) also shows that the number of women of all eligible ages having a smear test in Kirklees is steadily decreasing year-on-year. In 2014 76.9% of women attended and in 2015 76.8% of women attended.
We really want to increase the understanding about cervical screening and how vital it is for women to have regular smear tests because these tests really can save lives. Women have no need to be embarrassed by the tests which are quick and painless. A simple smear test enables women to receive treatment before it is too late, preventing unnecessary deaths. So our message is clear: don’t ignore your smear test.
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 that women attend all of their cervical screening appointments. In most cases, vaginal bleeding is the first noticeable symptom of cervical cancer. It usually occurs after having sex. Bleeding at any other time, other than your expected monthly period, is also considered unusual. Other symptoms of cervical cancer may include pain and discomfort during sex and an unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge.
You can find out more about Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (24 – 30 January 2016) by visiting the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website www.jostrust.org.uk. For more information about cervical cancer and the NHS Cervical Screening Programme you can also visit http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-cervix