The latest statistics from NHS Digital have alarmingly revealed that last year just under a quarter (23.5%) of women in Kirklees aged 25-64 who are eligible for a cervical screening test did not book in or attend their smear test.
The data has found that the numbers of women in Kirklees attending in the younger age group (25-49) continues to fall year-on-year. In the 25-49 age group, 75% attended in 2015 and 74.3% attended in 2016.
This Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (21st – 28th January 2017) 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.
Dr David Kelly, Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG and local GP 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 and a simple 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.”
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.”
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.
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 for Adults, Health and Activity to Improve Health 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