Urgent call for women to have cervical screening after drop in uptake since Coronavirus outbreak

A healthcare professional demonstrating how a cervical screening is performed. Picture: JO'S CERVICA

A healthcare professional demonstrating how a cervical screening is performed. Picture: JO'S CERVICAL CANCER TRUST - Credit: Archant

Thousands of women are being encouraged to have a cervical screening after the coronavirus pandemic caused a drop in the number of people going for the vital test.

Norfolk-based charity UK Cervical Cancer has launched a campaign for women across the county to be screened for cervical cancer.

About a quarter of the approximately 250,000 women registered with surgeries in Norfolk have not made, or have missed, their screening appointments.

There are also a further significant minority of women who are not registered with surgeries in the first place.

It is thought the number of women being screened has fallen further since the outbreak of Covid-19.

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Melvyn Hill, the charity’s CEO, said: “The most important message we can give women is that if you can’t get an appointment for screening immediately, don’t just forget about it.

“Make a big circle on your calendar, make a note in your electronic diary, tie a string around your finger or do whatever you have to so you don’t forget to follow up with your surgery. Keep trying until you get the screening you need.

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“We are particularly keen on reaching deprived and vulnerable groups who are less likely to be engaged with public health messages.”

MORE: Hospital with ‘great track record’ wins new cervical screening contractThe charity is hoping to reverse the trend of falling numbers of women taking up a cervical screening and its £10,000 promotional campaign has been funded with a National Lottery Community Fund grant.

As part of the campaign, UK Cervical Cancer is urging the issue to be raised within schools around Norfolk.

Publicity information will also be sent to doctors to be given to their patients at GP surgeries.

The local push comes as the World Health Organisation launches its global strategy to eliminate cervical cancer.

Mr Hill added that to help prevent cervical cancer, older pupils and young women should be vaccinated.

Vaccinations are free, but only up to the age of 25. Meanwhile, women between 25 and 64 should be screened regularly, every three or five years depending on their age.

For more information about cervical screening visit www.ukcervicalcancer.org.uk

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