HEALTH bosses are backing a campaign urging women to attend regular screenings for cervical cancer.
Up to eight women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer every day and three women lose their lives to the disease. Yet cervical cancer is largely preventable and if caught early the survival rates are high.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, which runs this week (January 24 to 30), is a campaign by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust urging women age 25 to 49 to have screenings every three years.
Spokesman for NHS South Warwickshire CCG, Dr Deryth Stevens said: “I can’t stress enough the importance of women having regular cervical screening. The screening programme saves 5,000 lives each year in the UK, yet 20 per cent of women are not attending their cervical screening test annually.
“During the early stages cervical cancer will not often have any symptoms and the best way for it to be detected is through a screening. Prevention is the key to improving survival rates and cervical screening will save lives.”
For younger women, HPV vaccinations can help prevent most cervical cancers. The injection is routinely given to girls across the country aged 12 and 13 to prevent the persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) – an infection which causes changes to the cervical cells and is responsible for nearly all cervical cancers.
Reality TV star Jade Goody died from cervical cancer seven years ago. She was age just 27 and her death raised significant awareness about the importance of screening, which leads to early detection and treatment.
Dr Stevens said “The sad death of Jade Goody at such a young age highlights the importance of both the cervical screening programme and the HPV vaccination programme. Cervical cancer is largely preventable and, if caught early, survival rates are high.
“Being screened regularly means that any abnormal changes in the cells can be identified at an early stage and, if necessary, treated to stop cancer developing. It is estimated that early detection and treatment can prevent up to 75 per cent of cervical cancers.”
Visit www.jostrust.org.uk to find out more.