Burnley MP Julie Cooper has thrown her support behind Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.
The initiative is being spearheaded by Jo's Cancer Trust and aims to raise awareness about how women can reduce their risk of cervical cancer.
Over 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the UK, yet it is one of the only cancers that can be prevented and one day become a disease of the past.
Cervical screening, or smear tests, are the best protection against the disease, followed by the HPV vaccine offered in schools. Yet cervical screening uptake is at a 21-year low in England.
It is at just 71.4%, meaning that more than one in four women are not booking a potentially life-saving test.
This week Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has published new research which has found young women who
delay or don’t go for cervical screening feel scared (71%), vulnerable (75%) and embarrassed (81%)
at the thought of going.
A worrying two thirds (67%) say they would not feel in control at the prospect of a test.
Mrs Cooper, who is also shadow Health Minister said: “I am delighted to be working with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. Cervical screening prevents up to 75% of cervical cancers developing, so it is worrying to hear that so many women are not attending this test when invited, particularly due to embarrassment.”
Robert Music, Chief Executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “We are delighted to have Julie
Cooper MP’s support to help raise awareness about the importance of cervical screening.
" Smear tests provide the best protection against cervical cancer yet we know they aren’t always easy.
"We want women to feel comfortable talking to their nurse and asking questions. It’s not making a fuss
and there are many ways to make the test easier. Please don’t let your fears stop you booking a
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week started on Monday and runs until next Monday, January 27th and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s smear test awareness campaign #SmearForSmear is running alongside it.
The campaign asks people to share lipstick smeared selfies or a short film to raise awareness that smear tests prevent cervical cancer and provide tips to make the test better.
It could be the reminder or encouragement someone needs to book their test.
The majority (99.7%) of cervical cancers are caused by persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection which causes changes to the cervical cells.
In the UK 220,000 women are diagnosed with cervial abnormalities each year. Over 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 890 women lose their lives every year.
Around five million UK women are invited to cervical screening each year yet one in four do not attend.
Women aged 25-49 are invited every three years and women aged 50-64 are invited every five years.
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (www.jostrust.org.uk) is the UK’s only dedicated charity offering support and information to women of all ages and their loved ones affected by cervical cancer and
For more information about the week go to www.jostrust.org.uk/smearforsmear.
The National Helpline number is 0808 802 8000.