A new national campaign is calling on those eligible not to ignore their invite for a cervical screening, as data reveals nearly 1 in 3 do not take up the offer.
The new Help Us Help You – Cervical Screening Saves Lives campaign urges women and those who may be eligible not to ignore their cervical screening invite, and if they missed their last one, to book an appointment with their GP practice or sexual health clinic now. A survey released as part of the launch shows embarrassment was the most common reason for not booking a screening appointment (42%) and almost two-thirds (63%) said they were nervous when they did attend.
Read more: Primary Care Nursing Live speakers announced
‘Around 2 women die every day from cervical cancer, but screening takes just a few minutes and can stop the disease before it starts,’ said Maria Caulfield, Minister for Patient Safety and Primary Care.
‘Through our new campaign we’re calling on all women and people with a cervix to get screened to help save hundreds of lives. Even if you’re feeling embarrassed or nervous, please don’t ignore your invitation.’
Latest figures from March 2021 show that nearly a third (30%) of eligible individuals – women and people with a cervix aged between 25 and 64 – were not screened.
Read more: Nursing workforce ‘in crisis before pandemic’
Around 2,700 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year and approximately 690 women die from the disease – around 2 deaths every day. Previous estimates suggest screening prevents 70% of cervical cancer deaths, but 83% of deaths could be prevented if everyone attended regularly.
‘There is no doubt about it – cervical screening saves lives. By screening for risk signs at an early stage, it means that any abnormal cells can be treated quickly before they potentially develop into cancer,’ said Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Medical Director for Primary Care at NHS England.
‘We know that it can feel embarrassing or feel like something that you can easily put off, but accepting your invite and getting checked could save your life.’