New research reveals that young women aged 25-49 in Calderdale are less likely to attend a smear test in comparison to women aged 50-64. This year in Calderdale only 76% of eligible young women had a smear test compared to 80% 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 under 35. This Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (24 – 30 January 2016) Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging all young women to attend their cervical smear test when invited – it could save lives.
The research[i] 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 Calderdale is steadily decreasing year-on-year. In 2014 78.2% of women attended and in 2015 77.8% of women attended.
Dr Nigel Taylor of Hebden Bridge Group Practice and Calderdale CCG’s Cancer Lead, said: “Cervical smear tests are really important. Regular testing looks for changes in the cervix that may lead to cancer if left untreated, so really, this test can prevent a woman getting cancer of the cervix.
“I really want to encourage all eligible women to have a smear test regularly, to keep healthy.”
The NHS cervical screening programme is available to women aged 25 to 64 in England, and all eligible women who are registered with a GP automatically receive an invitation by mail. Women aged 25 to 49 receive invitations every 3 years. Women aged 50 to 64 receive invitations every 5 years.
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.
To find out more about Cervical Cancer Prevention Week visit the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website www.jostrust.org.uk. More information about cervical cancer can be found on the NHS Choices website at http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-cervix. The site also provides information on the NHS Cervical Screening Programme: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cervical-screening-test.
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- NHS England is the body which leads the NHS in England. Its main aim is to improve the health outcomes for people in England, and it sets the overall direction and priorities for the NHS as a whole.
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- Further information on cervical screening can be found on the NHS Choices website.
- 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
NHS Calderdale CCG
NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) covers 26 GP practices and a registered population of more than 213,000 patients.
At Calderdale CCG we seek to improve the lives of local people by increasing life expectancy, making sure we commission and provide good quality services and to reduce health inequalities across the district. It’s our aim to achieve the best health and wellbeing for the people of Calderdale within our available resources.
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[i] 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