Doctors at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust are encouraging local women to get smear tests as part of national Cervical Cancer Awareness Week (25-31 January).
Dr Safia Jabeen, who runs the Chandni Clinic women’s sexual health at Dewsbury and District Hospital said:
“Three women die every day in the UK from cervical cancer, with 26 new cases diagnosed in the Mid Yorkshire area last year. Regular cervical smear tests for women between the ages of 25 and 64 years are available from the NHS though, and can prevent seven out of ten cervical cancers. The test picks up abnormal cells which can be treated before the cancer can even develop.
“Worryingly though, more than a million women in England missed their smear test last year. It is even more concerning that one in three women aged 25-29 missed their first smear appointment.
“I want to make sure local women understand how important a smear test is in beating cancer. Last year it was estimated to have saved 5,000 lives, and that figure will only go up if more women get their tests this year.
"I understand that there can be psychological and practical reasons that women miss their smear test. For information or reassurance about the test, they can always talk to their practice nurse, doctor, or visit the website of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (www.jostrust.org.uk). Jo’s Trust is the UK's only dedicated charity offering support and information to women and their family affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities.
“Cervical cancer is almost always a result of infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). This is an extremely common infection which often causes no symptoms. The HPV vaccine is available from the NHS for all girls aged 12 to 13. Immunisation protects against cervical cancer by preventing infection with HPV and is harmless itself, but almost half the girls offered the vaccine do not take it. Anyone who misses the vaccination can still get it on the NHS until the age of 18. I would urge parents to encourage their daughters to get vaccinated.
“We have an opportunity to prevent this cancer and I’m hopeful that this awareness week will make many women contact their GPs and make their smear appointment.”