In Sefton, nearly three in four women aged 25-49 have had a cervical screening test within the last three-and-a-half years.
This Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (18-24 January), health leaders in the area want to make sure even more people with a cervix get screened to protect themselves against cervical cancer.
All people with a cervix aged 25-64 are invited for regular cervical screening by letter under the NHS Cervical Screening Programme. Also known as a smear test, screening helps detect abnormalities within the cervix that could, if left untreated, develop into cervical cancer. Nationally, there has been a 6.8% decrease in this age group attending these appointments in the last year, although the figure for Sefton has actually risen slightly.
Chrissie Cooke, chief nurse for NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:
“It’s really positive that more women in Sefton are getting cervical screening, but there is still more to do. It’s important you attend screening when you’re invited; and encourage the other women and people with a cervix in your life to do the same. “Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is a great opportunity to talk about screening, understand the symptoms of cervical cancer, and to book that appointment you may have been putting off. We have added extra appointment slots to patients who may struggle to attend appointments during the working week. Your health matters – book your screening today.”
Dr Gustavo Berni, local GP and medical director from the South Sefton GP Federation, said:
“At our practice, 94% of all eligible patients are screened for cervical cancer. Our extended 7-day GP service offers appointments at evenings and weekends, so you can book a time that works for you.
“If you are worried about going for screening due to coronavirus, speak to your GP surgery about your questions or concerns. Since the pandemic, all GP surgeries have put increased infection control measures in place, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“We also know that cervical screening may be a little uncomfortable, but those few minutes could save your life. You can request a female nurse or doctor, and we encourage you to discuss any concerns with our staff beforehand.”
Dr Abdul Zubairu, local GP and medical director from the Southport and Formby GP Federation, said:
“Having cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer. It isn’t a test for cancer, it is a test that helps prevent cancer. Make sure to book an appointment with your GP practice when you receive your letter. We also have nurse appointment slots for cervical screening at evenings and weekends as part of our 7-day GP service. Simply contact your GP practice in the usual way to make an appointment in this service.
“If you have symptoms such as bleeding between periods, pain after sex, changes to vaginal discharge or unexplained lower back or pelvic pain, please speak to your GP.”
For more information about cervical screening and cervical cancer, visit:
- NHS information about cervical screening
- Jo’s Trust information about cervical screening
- Cancer Research UK information about cancer symptoms
- NHS information about cancer signs and symptoms