With around 3,000 women diagnosed each with cervical cancer each year – there is a renewed plea for better take up of the free NHS screening invitation.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (January 23-29) is once again being supported by
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, a UK charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities.
The Trust was created to raise awareness of cervical cancer which, despite being a preventable disease, claims three lives every day.
While many women automatically receive a screening appointment from the age of 24 and a half years to attend their GP surgery, some are referred to Peterborough City Hospital.
A monthly smear clinic, which sees up to 13 patients in one day, is run by colposcopy/gynae oncology clinical nurse specialist Michelle Hydes.
Michelle said: “Many of the patients coming into the clinic have already had their screening performed but have received abnormal results so are assessed in colposcopy’.
“During this assessment the patient may be discharged for screening in 12 months or in three years’ time depending on what we see.
“They may require a biopsy for further investigation, or they may have treatment at their outpatient appointment – based on the screening result they have been referred to us with.
The aim is treat any pre-cancerous cells before they develop into cancer.”
“Some ladies however, experience difficulties with their screening in the community, and so are referred to gynaecology for their cervical screening.”
The NHS cervical screening programme invites women aged between 25 and 64 for cervical screening.
The screening test aims to pick up changes early that could develop into cervical cancer if left untreated.
However, cervical screening (sometimes referred to as a smear test) continues to remain something of a taboo subject.
Figures show that just one in three women take up their screening invite but 75% of cervical cancers can be prevented by cervical screening.
Michelle added: “We would urge all women who receive a letter to take up their invitation for screening in the primary care setting in the first instance.
“We do understand that it can be a sensitive subject for many, but all patients have the right to choose how they receive their care and can request a female health professional carry out the test and / or ask for a chaperone to be present.
“The important thing to be aware of is that those 10 minutes of feeling slightly uncomfortable goes a long way to preventing cervical cancer.”
Please visit NHS online for more information on cervical cancer.
Peterborough City Hospital, Rutland and Stamford Hospital and Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon are all part of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust.
Colposcopy/gynae oncology clinical nurse specialist Michelle Hydes sees around 13 patients a month in clinic at Peterborough City Hospital and stresses the importance of attending cervical screening appointments.
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