Public Health England have launched on a new drive to encourage women to ensure they undertake cervical screening.
The PHE campaign is designed to boost the number of women taking screening tests after attendance levels reached a 20-year low.
PHE state that 1 in 4 women are not undertaking screening even though they are entitled to. The campaign will encourage women to respond to their cervical screening invitation letter, and if they missed their last screening, to book an appointment at their GP practice.
Around 2,600 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year, and around 690 women die from the disease, which is 2 deaths every day. It is estimated that if everyone attended screening regularly, 83% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented.
New research from PHE shows that nearly all women eligible for screening (90%) would be likely to take a test that could help prevent cancer - and of those who have attended screening, 9 in 10 (94%) would encourage others who are worried to attend their cervical screening. Despite this, screening is at a 20-year low, with 1 in 4 eligible women (those aged 25 to 64) in the UK not attending their test.
The new PHE campaign provides practical information about how to make the test more comfortable, and gives reassurance to women, who may be fearful of finding out they have cancer, that screening is not a test for cancer.
Regular screening, which only takes a few minutes, can help stop cervical cancer before it starts, as the test identifies potentially harmful cells before they become cancerous, and ensures women get the right treatment as soon as possible.
The PHE research shows that once they have been screened, the vast majority of women feel positive about the experience, with 8 in 10 (87%) stating they are ‘glad they went’ and that they were ‘put at ease by the nurse or doctor doing the test’ (84%).
The campaign is also being supported by charities, including Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. Activity includes new advertising on TV and other channels, together with the cascade of information through GP surgeries and pharmacies.
PHE website for cervical screening
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
PHE information on cervical screening
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