Young women urged to have a smear test as figures reveal 25% not attending in Kirklees

New research reveals that young women aged 25-49 in Kirklees are less likely to attend a smear test in comparison to women aged 50-64. This year across Kirklees only 75% of eligible young women had a smear test compared to 81% of women aged 50-64.

Every year in the UK, over 3,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under. This Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (24 – 30 January 2016) NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Kirklees Council are urging all young women to attend their cervical smear test when invited – it could save lives.

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.

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.

“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.”

Dr Yasmin Khan – Associate Medical Director, NHS England – North (Yorkshire and the Humber) said: “We understand that going for a cervical smear test can be daunting but a cervical screening test takes five minutes, is painless, and if you attend each time you’re invited it provides a high degree of protection against developing cervical cancer.

“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, and ensure they stay healthy.”

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.

Cllr Viv Kendrick, Cabinet Member for Prevention, Early Intervention and Vulnerable Adults 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

Ends. 

Notes

  1. Further information on cervical screening can be found on the NHS website.
  2. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to women and their families affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities www.jostrust.org.uk
  3. HSCIC ‘Cervical Screening Programme, England – 2014-2015’ Nov 2015 http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/2021/Website-Search?productid=19239&q=cervical+screening&sort=Relevance&size=10&page=1&area=both#top

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