Campaign launched to tackle low cancer screening rates

Jasmine Salisbury is calling for women to take up cervical cancer invites

Jasmine Salisbury is calling for women to take up cervical cancer invites - Credit: JASMINE SALISBURY

A campaign has been launched to try and increase the numbers being screened for cervical cancer after figures revealed that one in four in the east of England were not coming forward for checks. 

The Help Us Help You- Cervical Screening Saves Lives initiative by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), with support from the NHS, urges women and those who may be eligible not to ignore their cervical screening invite. 

In January, Hadleigh mum-of-two Jasmine Salisbury, 28, urged women to take a smear test after experiencing cervical cancer herself. 

She described how she wished she had seen a doctor sooner after symptoms started to show in February 2019, but she put off an appointment because she did not want to be examined while bleeding. 

She told the EADT: “It's really worrying to hear that the cervical screening uptake has fallen. From speaking to others, I know that some have not attended their appointment due to concerns about Covid and others are too embarrassed or nervous.  

“I cannot stress the importance of having a screening enough, it will check for any abnormal cells which, if found early enough, can be easily treated."  

Around 2,700 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year and approximately 690 women die from the disease – around two deaths every day.  

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Previous estimates suggest screening prevents 70% of cervical cancer deaths, but 83% of deaths could be prevented if everyone attended regularly.  

A survey commissioned by DHSC in England as part of the campaign revealed that embarrassment was the most common reason for never having attended or missing an appointment. 

The second most common was simply ‘putting it off,’ followed by ‘being worried it would be painful’.

Maria Caulfield, minister for patient safety and primary care, said: “Around two women die every day from cervical cancer, but screening takes just a few minutes and can stop the disease before it starts.  

“Through our new campaign we’re calling on all women and people with a cervix to get screened to help save hundreds of lives. Even if you’re feeling embarrassed or nervous, please don’t ignore your invitation.”