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What are you doing for Cervical Cancer Prevention week?

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Samantha Dixon, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust Samantha Dixon, Chief Executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

The latest cervical screening coverage statistics from Scotland and England show that one in three women and people with a cervix are not taking up their cervical screening invitation. These figures are far lower than the previous year, and are frankly very worrying. COVID has had a devastating impact on cancer services and outcomes for thousands, and falling cervical screening attendance has the potential to make it even worse.

National figures also mask significant variation in ages, location and groups who are far less likely to access a test. Among some ages and areas, attendance is as low as one in two.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2022 takes place from 17-23 January 2022 and provides an opportunity to encourage those overdue cervical screening to book a test. Sharing tips, support and reminders as well potentially life-saving messages about screening helping stop cancer before it even starts.

However cervical cancer prevention doesn’t stop at screening. Every day at Jo’s we see the impact of an unexpected result. Calls about HPV represent half of those to our Helpline, and high numbers come to us not understanding what it means to have cell changes, feeling scared, anxious and confused. Many say the first time they heard about cell changes was on their results letter, and often they don’t know anyone who has had a diagnosis. We want everyone to have the information and support they need, especially during COVID when health anxiety is already high. So for Cervical Cancer Prevention Week we are encouraging sharing stories, tips and experiences about cervical screening and potential results.

Sample takers and non-clinical primary care staff play an important role in ensuring eligible women and people with a cervix can make an informed decision about whether to attend cervical screening. Cervical screening may be straightforward, but it can present multiple, complex issues for some patients. Everyone has different needs and practice can be adjusted to properly support those needs.

We know the immense pressure that primary care is under right now, and want to help. We have resources you can download and display or share including posters and social media graphics. We also have information and guides to support providers in talking about HPV, explaining what colposcopy means and answering common questions from patients.

So join us for Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. We’d love to know what you’re up to and how we can help: www.jostrust.org.uk/ccpw

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

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