East Ren backs NHS ‘smear’ campaign to target women

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The Health Improvement Team within East Renfrewshire’s Community Health and Care Partnership (CHCP) is encouraging all local women aged between 20 and 35 years to make sure they have a cervical screening test every three years.

The UK’s only dedicated cervical cancer charity, Jo’s Trust, has launched a social media campaign, supported by influential celebrities, to raise

awareness of the importance of smear tests (cervical screening) following concerning figures that show more than one million women failed to be screened in 2013-14 and incidence of cervical cancer rose amongst women under 35.

The CHCP’s awareness-raising backs the latest ‘smear’ campaign by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to encourage the 20 to 35 year age group who are the least likely to have a potentially life-saving smear test.

A spokeswoman said: “The test only takes five minutes, saves around 5,000 lives in the UK every year, and prevents eight out of 10 cervical cancers from developing.”

Smear test appointments can be made with a GP, family planning service or at a sexual health clinic.

Because women within this specific age group are the most persistent defaulters and the biggest group never to have had a smear, the NHS has put together a social marketing campaign and three short videos to change how women feel about having the test and increase uptake.

The CHCP wants to get the message across to women not to ignore letters inviting them to make the appointment and keep it.

They say: “If anyone has been invited for a smear and is having doubts, watch one of the videos at nhsggc.org.uk/smear to answer any concerns.

Robert Music, Chief Executive for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “Every day we see the devastating impact a cervical cancer diagnosis can have on both a woman and her loved ones.

But to know that for those that delayed their screening before diagnosis, this could have been prevented, is tragic. It’s now time that we see an upward shift in awareness of cervical cancer and an understanding of the importance of smear tests.”