The latest statistics from NHS Digital have alarmingly revealed that last year more than a quarter (26%) of women in Leeds aged 25-64 who are eligible for a cervical screening test did not book in or attend their smear test.
The data has found that the numbers of women in Leeds attending in both the younger age group (25-49) and the older age group (50-64) continue to fall year-on-year. In the 25-49 age group, 72.9% attended in 2014, 72.7% attended in 2015 and 72.3% attended in 2016. In the 50-64 age group, 80.6% attended in 2014, 79.2% attended in 2015 dropping to 78.9% in 2016.
This Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (21st – 28th January 2017) Leeds City Council is urging all young women to attend their cervical smear test when invited – it could save lives.
Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:
“I’m glad to offer my support to Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and encourage women to have their smear test. These screenings only take a few minutes and could save your life. As such, it is vital that time is invested to have regular check-ups and not to risk missing out on something being detected and treated.”
Dr Yasmin Khan – Associate Medical Director at NHS England in Yorkshire and the Humber, said:
“For some people the thought of going for a cervical smear test can be embarrassing, often people think it’s painful, or it can seem a scary or daunting prospect for other reasons. However, the test takes five minutes, it’s painless, and you really can’t put a price on taking the right steps early on to protect your health.
“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.”
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. For more information about cervical cancer and the NHS Cervical Screening Programme visit http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-cervix
Note to editors
- 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.
- For further information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0113 825 3231.
- 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