This week Kirsty and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust are raising awareness about how women can reduce their risk of cervical cancer. Over 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the UK, yet it is one of the only cancers that can be prevented and one day become a disease of the past.
Cervical screening (smear tests) are the best protection against the disease, followed by the HPV vaccine offered in schools. Yet cervical screening uptake is at an all time low with one in four women not booking a potentially life-saving test.
This week Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has published new research which has found young women who delay or don’t go for cervical screening feel scared (71%), vulnerable (75%) and embarrassed (81%) at the thought of going.
A worrying two thirds (67%) say they would not feel in control at the prospect of a test.
Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Brecon and Radnorshire said:
“I am delighted to be working with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.
"Cervical screening prevents up to 75% of cervical cancers developing, so it is worrying to hear that so many women are not attending this test when invited, particularly due to embarrassment.”
Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said:
“We are delighted to have Kirsty's support to help raise awareness about the importance of cervical screening.
"Smear tests provide the best protection against cervical cancer yet we know they aren’t always easy. We want women to feel comfortable talking to their nurse and asking questions. It’s not making a fuss and there are many ways to make the test easier.
"Please don’t let your fears stop you booking a test.”
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week ran from 21-27 January 2019 and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s smear test awareness campaign #SmearForSmear is running during the week www.jostrust.org.uk/smearforsmear.
The campaign asks people to share lipstick smeared selfies or a short film to raise awareness that smear tests prevent cervical cancer and provide tips to make the test better. It could be the reminder or encouragement someone needs to book their test. It could save a life.
About Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (www.jostrust.org.uk) is the UK’s only dedicated charity offering support and information to women of all ages and their loved ones affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. The National Helpline is on 0808 802 8000.
About cervical cancer:
- The majority (99.7%) of cervical cancers are caused by persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection which causes changes to the cervical cells
- 220,000 UK women are diagnosed with cervical abnormalities each year
- Over 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 890 women lose their lives every year
- Around 5 million UK women are invited to cervical screening each year yet one in four do not attend
- Women aged 25-49 are invited every three years and women aged 50-64 are invited every five years