The 20th – 26th of January was Cervical Cancer Prevention week, an initiative set-up by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.
Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance used Cervical Cancer Prevention Week as an opportunity to go out and about across our area raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer.
We went out into the community and talked to people about the importance of taking up cervical screening invitations and booking their smear test at their GPs. We also wanted to understand the reason why women didn’t always take up their appointments.
Reasons, which included not having someone to look at their children, whilst they went for their screening appointment. We talked to local nurseries who offered free childcare for those who needed it in order to attend.
Our Cancer Champion team delivered awareness training sessions at a number of schools and colleges and also visited community venues to talk about cervical cancer and HPV.
Raising Awareness Online
We also ran a week long social media campaign to #endsmearfear and #smearforsmear providing information and advice for those worried about making an appointment and breaking the myths of cervical cancer and screening.
Time to Test
We were delighted that three employers across our area signed up to Jo’s Trust’s Time to Test pledge – Vale of York CCG, Unity Health and Photo My Product which encourages employees to attend their cervical screening appointment by giving them time to test.
All three organisations extended the time to test pledge to bowel and breast screening.
All women aged 25 to 49 are offered a cervical screening test every three years, with those aged 50 to 64 are offered screening every five years.
What are the signs and symptoms of Cervical Cancer?
You should visit your doctor if you notice any of the following signs:
- Bleeding between periods
- Bleeding during or after sex
- Bleeding after you have been through the menopause
- Any unpleasant vaginal discharge
- Discomfort or pain during sex
These symptoms may also be signs of other common conditions and do not necessarily mean you have cancer, but should always be checked.
How can you reduce your risk of cervical cancer?
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust wants to ensure that all women and people with a cervix know how cervical cancer can be reduced. This means:
- Attending cervical screening when invited
- Knowing the symptoms of cervical cancer and seeking medical advice if experiencing any
- Taking up the HPV vaccination if aged 11-18
- Knowing where to find support and further information