This Cervical Screening Week (20-26 June), NHS professionals in Sefton are encouraging everyone who is eligible to get their cervical screening test as soon as they are invited.
All women and people with a cervix, aged 25 to 64, are invited to have a cervical screening test to help reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer affects around 3,000 people in the UK every year. The cervical screening test detects human papillomavirus (HPV) and signs of early abnormal cells, which can turn into cervical cancer if not treated.
Dr Debbie Harvey, Macmillan GP at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Those aged 25 to 49 are offered screening every three years and 50 to 64 year olds are every five years. When it’s time for your next screening, you should be sent a letter inviting you to make an appointment.
“Almost 1 in 3 people don’t go for their cervical screening test but it is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from the risk of cervical cancer.
“The test only takes 5 minutes and your nurse or doctor is there to make you feel comfortable and help you with any questions you might have.”
Dr Graeme Allan, Macmillan GP and primary care cancer lead at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “The screening test significantly reduces the risk of developing cervical cancer so it’s really important to make an appointment when invited.
“If you are aged 25 to 64 and think you’re overdue your cervical screening test, contact your GP practice.”
Eligible patients who are registered at a local GP practice will receive an invitation letter in the post with information about how to book their cervical screening appointment.
Patients are also advised that if they become aware of any of the following symptoms before their next cervical screening test is due, to not wait to be screened, but to get in touch with their GP practice or community sexual health clinic:
- unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge
- pain or discomfort during intercourse
- unexplained pain in your lower tummy
Sefton residents can also book their screening test during evenings or weekends, via the GP Extra service in south Sefton or the 7 day GP service in Southport and Formby. These evening and weekend appointments can be booked by calling the patient’s own GP practice.
For more information on cervical cancer and what the screening test involves, please visit: www.nhs.uk/cervicalcancer.
To find out more about what to expect at your cervical screening appointment, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLysTe5vLd8
Cervical Screening Awareness Week is an event run by national cervical cancer charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.
During the week they are also encouraging people to share their tips and experiences, and positive messages about screening online. You can find tips and stories by following the hashtags #CervicalScreeningTip and #CervicalScreeningAwarenessWeek on social media, or following the charity on Twitter: @JoTrust or Instagram: @JosCervicalCancerTrust.