Don’t ignore your cervical screening invite

Date: 13 March 2019

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Cervical screening saves lives. That’s the message from nurses and doctors in Oxfordshire who are supporting Public Health England’s cervical screening campaign and encouraging women to respond to their cervical screening invitation letter, or if they missed their last screening, to book an appointment at their GP practice.

Two women die every day from cervical cancer in England. While cervical screening can stop cancer before it starts by preventing potentially harmful cells developing, national statistics show screening is at a 20-year low with one in four eligible women (those aged 25 – 64) in the UK not attending their test.

Latest figures (June 2018) show the screening rate in Oxfordshire for eligible women in the 25-49 age group was 68.4 per cent, while for women in the 50-64 age group the take-up rate was 76.7 per cent. 

Dr Shelley Hayles, clinical lead for planned care  and cancer at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is really important for women to understand why they should attend cervical screening. Don’t ignore your cervical screening invite. If you missed your last cervical screening, book an appointment with your GP practice now."

Dr Hayles also stresses the importance of women with learning disabilities and/or autism being screened, as take-up in those groups is tend to be lower. OCCG is working with GPs to reach these women.

She added: “The test is relatively simple, takes a few minutes and is performed by nurses at your GP surgery who are trained and experienced in how to make your test comfortable. 

"It is not a test for cancer but is a test to check the health of the cells in your cervix. Most women’s test results show that everything is normal but for around one in 20 women the test shows show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. 

"Most of these changes won’t lead to cervical cancer and cells go back to normal on their own but, in some cases, the abnormal cells need to be removed so they can’t become cancerous.”

The Cervical Screening Saves Lives campaign is being supported by NHS organisations across England. Activity includes new advertising on TV and other channels, together with information in GP surgeries and pharmacies. Find out more here about cervical screening. 

  • Summary:

    Women urged to take up screening opportunity

  • Transformation:
  • Date:
    13 March 2019