Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

19th January, 2022

One in three women and people with a cervix don’t attend cervical screening? It’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Week this week, and we want to do our bit to raise awareness.

Facts about cervical cancer:

  • Cervical cancer is a cancer that's found anywhere in the cervix.
  • The cervix is part of the reproductive system and is sometimes called the neck of the womb. 
  • Cancer can often be prevented by attending cervical screening, which aims to find and treat changes to cells before they turn into cancer.
  • Cervical screening (referred to as a smear test) is not a test for cancer, but a test to help prevent cancer.
  • Cervical cancer usually grows very slowly. How serious it is depends on how big it is, if it has spread and your general health.

Around 220,000 people, each year, are told they have cervical cell changes after their screening or are given a HPV diagnosis which provides an opportunity for further tests and preventative treatment.

Are appointments still available?

In England, the Cervical Screening Programme is still inviting people for cervical screening. GP surgeries and some sexual health clinics are also doing cervical screening.  Contact your GP surgery to book an appointment, if you have received an invitation to do so.

If you are not able to book an appointment because your GP can’t provide an appointment, you can:

There is a wealth of information to help you with what to expect and how to make things easier during the pandemic when booking for and attending a cervical screening test here.

Experiences shared

Read about others’ personal experiences with cervical screening, cell changes and cancer diagnosis here.  

Support for you

There are many reasons that a cervical screening test may be difficult for some people, ranging from embarrassment and body image to previous trauma. 

Information regarding cervical screening can be found here, including what to expect and different things you can do to help make the experience as comfortable as possible. If you would like to find out more, there is a support forum where you can ask others about their experiences, an ask the expert section and a helpline here.

Time can simply slip by when life gets busy. If that’s the case for you, this is your nudge to make that appointment.  

Cervical screening is not for those with symptoms

Cervical screening is a preventative test and not one to make a diagnosis.

Symptoms of cervical cancer can include:

  • Unusual bleeding
  • Changes to discharge
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain in the lower back, between the hip bones (pelvis), or in the lower tummy.

If you are experiencing symptoms that are worrying you, don’t hesitate to call your GP.

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