GPS are urging more women to have a simple screening test which could save their life.
The message about the importance of cervical screening comes from NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) clinicians as National Cervical Screening Week (8-14 June) gets underway.
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under and every single day in the UK, nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer (around 3,000 a year) and three women will lose their lives to the disease.
Yet despite this, one in five women does not make an appointment for a smear test when they are invited.
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.”
In most cases, cervical cancer is caused by a virus and although four out of five will be affected with it at some time in their lives, most will not go on to develop cancer. And those who do can usually be cured if the disease is diagnosed early.
There are usually no symptoms with abnormal cells in their pre-cancerous state and sometimes no symptoms in the early stages of cervical cancer.
However GPs are urging women to be aware of some recognised symptoms which may indicate cervical cancer. These include abnormal bleeding, vaginal discharge, discomfort or pain during sex and lower back pain.
Any woman experiencing any or all of these symptoms should make an appointment with their GP as soon as possible.