This Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (22-28 January 2018) NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are urging all young women to attend their cervical smear test when invited – it could save lives. The theme for the Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2018 is “Reduce your risk”.
Cervical cancer can be prevented and there are steps that women can take to reduce their risk of the disease and look after their health:
- Attending cervical screening when invited
- Knowing the symptoms of cervical cancer and seeking medical advice if experiencing any
- Taking up the HPV vaccination if aged 11-18
- Talking to friends and family to ensure they know how they can reduce their risk
- Knowing where to find support and further information.
Dr David Kelly, Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG said: “We 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. Smear tests are quick and painless. This simple test can highlight women who need early treatment and can, therefore, prevent unnecessary deaths.”
The NHS offers a cervical screening programme to all women from the age of 25. You should be sent a letter confirming when your screening appointment is due. Contact your GP if you think you may be overdue for a screening appointment.
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.
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). Nationally, Between 90 and 94% of all screening results come back normal, with no abnormalities found.
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.
Dr Steve Ollerton, Clinical Leader, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG and local GP said: “It is crucial that you attend your cervical screening appointment. One of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer is not going for a cervical screening test. So our message is clear – don’t ignore the invitation letter!”
Cllr Viv Kendrick, Cabinet Member – Adults and Public Health, Kirklees Council said: “We all lead busy lives and it’s easy to put aside a letter to sort out later, and then forget about it. I would urge all women who are due a test to make an appointment and attend, don’t let anything put you off, as this test could save your life.”
To find out more about Cervical Cancer Prevention Week visit the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website www.jostrust.org.uk. For more information about cervical cancer and the NHS Cervical Screening Programme visit http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-cervix
A short cancer awareness film has been produced by students at Kirklees College with the help of Kirklees Council’s Public Health Department and NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG. This film covers symptoms to look out for, when to seek medical advice and the treatment and support services available for cancer patients. You can access the film here https://youtu.be/MGwMHipp3fM