Trust joins nationwide Cervical Screening Saves Lives campaign

From an article on the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust website:

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) has joined a new campaign launched to raise awareness of the risks of cervical cancer and highlight the benefits of screening, reminding women that cervical screening can stop cancer before it starts.

SaTH, alongside the Public Health England campaign, which launched today (5 March), encourages all women to respond to their cervical screening invitation letters, and if they missed previous appointments, to book an appointment at their GP practice.

Two women die every day from cervical cancer in England.

Women can protect themselves against the risk of cervical cancer by attending their screening when invited; it is estimated that cervical screening saves around 5,000 lives each year. However, cervical screening is at a 20-year low, with one in four women in the UK not attending their test.

Everyone with a cervix, between the ages of 25 and 64, is invited to attend cervical screening every three or five years, depending on their age.

The screening test, which only lasts a few minutes, is not a test for cancer.

In fact, attending regular screening can help stop cervical cancer before it starts by preventing potentially harmful cells from developing.

Dr Banchhita Sahu, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, and lead for Gynaecological Oncology for SaTH, said: “Every year in Shropshire around 25 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. Of these women, a significant number are under 50 years old, with young families, who did not attend their smear tests.

“Once cancer is diagnosed, the impact is not only on you but also your family.

“It is estimated that 83% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented if everyone attended their screenings regularly, and a smear appointment takes only a few moments every three years, so please don’t put it off.”

Dr Jill Blackmore, Lead Colposcopist, who works alongside Sister Claire Carr, Lead Colposcopy Nurse for SaTH, said: “People are often too embarrassed to attend their smear test. They worry it will be painful, that they should have a wax before they go, that it will take a long time.

“We don’t talk to our friends and daughters about smears, and if we do it is usually in a negative way. Cervical screening is positive, it takes only a couple of minutes every three-five years, and means that in many cases we can catch cancer before it develops in the first place.

“There is nothing to be scared of and it could save your life.

“We would urge anyone who has missed their smear test to pick up the phone to your GP and book it now.”

In support of the Cervical Screening Saves Lives campaign, the Colposcopy team will be hosting two information stands at both the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital this week.

They will be providing information for patients and staff about preventing cervical cancer, including keeping up-to-date with cervical screening and any symptoms associated with cervical cancer.

Dr Blackmore and Sister Carr also continue to offer cervical screenings at work for female staff who are struggling to find the time to attend their local GPs.