This year we are working with Bracknell Forest Council to promote cervical cancer screening week from 8th – 13th June to encourage all those eligible for screening to take up their invitation when they receive the letter.
In England, women aged 25-49 are invited for screening every three years and those aged 50-64 are invited every five years. Every year 3000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. However, this cancer is largely preventable as a result of the Cervical Screening and HPV vaccination programmes. Each year 5,000 lives are saved in the UK as a result of the screening programme.
Regular cervical screening provides a high degree of protection against developing cervical cancer. As part of the screening process a sample of cells is taken from the cervix which is examined for any abnormalities that may become cancerous in the future. In Bracknell Forest, 82 per cent of women were screened in 2012-2013 which is higher than the national target of 80 per cent, however this figure masks a lower uptake in certain groups.
- National data indicates that younger women (aged 25-34 years) are less likely to take up their screening invitation and in some areas this could be up to a third of women.
- Recent research indicates that older women (aged 60-64) are also not taking up their invitation for screening.
- Other priority groups who are less likely to take up the offer of a screening test include people from Black and Ethnic Minority groups, people with learning disabilities and those with mental health problems.
Local GP, Dr Anant Sachdev says:
“Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, it is a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix. Most women’s test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women the test will show some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix and which could then lead to Cancer. I would encourage every woman over 25 to get the test done regularly.”