With this week (11-17 June) marking cervical screening awareness week, health professionals in St Helens are urging women to attend their cervical smear tests.
Cervical screening uptake in England is at a 19-year low with uptake being particularly low in younger women (aged 25-29) and older women (aged 60-64) – while one in four women do not take up their screening invitation at all.
Uptake in St Helens is 74 per cent higher than the North West and England.
Women who are registered with a GP and are aged 25-49 years of age are invited for a cervical smear every three years, with women aged between 50-64 years of age invited every five years.
Dr Paul Rose, St Helens GP Cancer Lead said: “Cervical screening saves lives; please don’t ignore your screening invitation. A smear test takes just a few minutes and nine out of ten cervical screening results come back normal.”
Sue Forster, Director of Public Health for St Helens Council said: “We know that many women feel uncomfortable about the tests, but being screened regularly means any problems can be found early and, if necessary, treated to stop cancer developing.
“I would encourage all women who are eligible to take up their smear test invitation and for those who have missed a smear, to contact their GP to arrange an appointment.”
Cervical cancer is often symptomless. However the most common symptoms are:
– Abnormal bleeding during or after sexual intercourse or between periods
– Post menopausal bleeding
– Unusual and/or unpleasant vaginal discharge
– Discomfort or pain during sex
– Lower back pain
For further information please speak to your GP or practice nurse or visit the Jo’s Trust website https://www.jostrust.org.uk/