What better time is there to arrange your smear test than during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week? The awareness week was started by the European Cervical Cancer Association due to ineffective prevention programmes in many European countries and the fact that “..the vast majority of women in Europe still know little about cervical cancer or what they can do to prevent it…”
In the UK there are two government initiatives aimed to prevent cervical cancer: the HPV vaccine and cervical screening tests.
The HPV vaccine is available to all girls aged 12–13 years to protect against the human papilloma virus which is the cause of genital warts, and more than 70% of cervical cancers. For information on the safety and controversy of the HPV vaccine click here.
For women aged between 25 and 64 a cervical screening test (smear test) is offered to detect pre-cancerous cells in the cervix. The screening programme has resulted in a decline in diagnoses by 7% each year since it was introduced in the 1980s. Attending your smear test is of vital importance as early detection and treatment can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancer.
Jo’s trust, the Cervical Cancer charity, states that whilst detection and treatment are effective, 20% of women did not attend their screening test in 2010 and only 50% of teenage girls offered the HPV vaccine as part of an NHS catch-up programme accepted. Cervical Cancer is preventable and treatable if caught early enough. Feel inspired, therefore, during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week to get tested.