Women urged to catch up with cervical screening after drop in tests during pandemic

Woman are being encouraged to accept appointments for cervical screening tests after a year of disruption caused by the Covid pandemic.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 2:49 pm
Women are urged to accept invitations for cervical screening
Women are urged to accept invitations for cervical screening

Cervical screening awareness week runs from tomorrow (Tuesday) until to Monday, June 21.

As part of the week, Luton Borough Council is encouraging all people who receive an invitation to book and attend their cervical screening (Smear Test).

Cllr Khtija Malik, portfolio holder for health, said: “Cervical cancer screening saves lives and is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.

"Cervical cancer is largely preventable due to early detection through a simple smear test and the HPV vaccine now offered to young people.

"It is important to go for screening to help detect cell changes which could develop into cervical cancer. I am encouraging all those eligible to accept their invitation when they receive it.”

Women aged 25 to 34 years, from ethnic minority ethnic populations, lesbian, bisexual and trans people are less likely to take-up screening opportunities, putting them at higher risk.

It is estimated that those who attend screening, have between 60 per cent to 80 per cent lower risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer in the five years following their screening, compared with unscreened women, so it is important to attend.

Councillor Malik added: ‘Cervical screening is free and saves an estimated 5000 lives a year. Those receiving an invitation letter or if they’ve missed previous invitations should contact their GP to make an appointment.”

During the cervical screening, a nurse takes a sample of cells from the cervix using a small, soft brush. This can be uncomfortable but is quick and usually not painful with the appointment usually lasting no more than 5 minutes.

For more information and support about a screening test and what it involves visit the NHS website or speak to your practice about the appointment, including if it can be carried out by female clinician.

More information can also be found on the charity website Jo’s Trust.