This week is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (17 -23 January 2022) and Milton Keynes Council is encouraging eligible residents to take up offers of cervical screening (smear tests) to help detect cervical cancer at an earlier stage.
The most recent data for Milton Keynes shows cervical screening uptake is just 67.1% among women aged 25-49 years and 72.7% among women aged 50-64 years. These rates are well below the national target of 80% and have dropped during the pandemic.
Around the world, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, killing more than 300,000 each year. However, 75% of cervical cancers can be prevented through screening, and this is estimated to save around 4,500 lives each year in the UK.
Cllr Emily Darlington, Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Healthy Communities, said: “Cervical screening saves lives and it is really worrying to see this decline. People might feel they are helping the NHS by not taking up their appointment during the pandemic but cervical cancer is often symptom free until it is too late and you could be putting your life at risk. I know it is not the most comfortable thing to do but it only takes minutes and could make all the difference.”
Vicky Head, Director of Public Health for Milton Keynes said: “Cervical cancer can be preventable thanks to cervical screening and HPV vaccination. Screening allows for the detection of cervical cancer at an early stage when it is far easier to treat. I would strongly encourage you to accept your invitation for screening when you receive it and to speak to your GP if you have any concerns.”
There are two major ways in which the risk of developing cervical cancer can be reduced: vaccination against human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical screening. Regular cervical screening can identify abnormal changes. Around 1 in 20 people have an abnormal result after a cervical screening. If not treated, these changes could develop into cancer in the future.
- Book a smear test when it’s time
- Contact your GP surgery to check when your next screening appointment is due, or if you think you may have missed a test.
- Children aged 12 and 13 are usually offered the HPV vaccine in school. If you missed this, you may still be eligible for the vaccine. Click Here to find out more.
For more information click here.