Opinions

Reduce your risk – Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

The biggest barrier to cervical screening is nonattendance. A staggering 36% of women don’t realise that they can reduce their risk of cervical cancer by attending their smear test or that cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under. It’s important that everyone is aware of the importance of screening.

75% of all cervical cancers can be prevented by cervical screening and around 5 million women in the UK, are invited for a cervical screening every year. Regular screening is offered to women aged 25 to 49 every 3 years, and women aged 50 to 64 are invited every 5 years. Despite this every day nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and two lose their lives to the disease. Smear tests can dramatically reduce the risk of cervical cancer and the procedure takes less than five minutes.

Reasons for missing smear tests include nerves, embarrassment, or being ‘too busy’. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust want to put an end to the stigma and myths surrounding smear tests, and eventually see an end to cervical cancer. That’s why they’ve launched Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (CCPW), which this year is themed ‘reduce your risk’. There’s been a wealth of activity to support the CCPW campaign, with both celebrities and the public sharing their #SmearForSmear over social media.

The images have reached a wide audience, alongside personal stories from survivors and healthcare professionals. Brave individuals sharing their experiences of cervical screening, with many talking about how screening saved their life or the life of a woman they love.

You can get involved and show your support for CCPW and Jo’s Trust too:

• Tweet a picture of your #SmearForSmear – male or female: raise awareness!
• Donate £5 to Jo’s Trust by texting ‘CCPW18’ to 70070
• Fundraise, See the Jo’s Trust website for some ideas
• Spread the word, talk to people and post on social media using #CCPW #SmearForSmear and #ReduceYourRisk

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week runs from 22nd – 28th of January.

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