Latest data from the NHS in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough shows that only 1 in 3 people locally took up the invitation for their smear test in the last year.
As Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (22-28 January 2024) begins, NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough are urging people who’ve been invited for a smear test to book theirs in.
Screening involves taking a small sample of cells from the cervix and looking for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) that could develop into cervical cancer if left untreated. Eligible people aged between 25 to 64 are invited by letter every three to five years depending on their age, or more frequently if HPV or cell changes are detected.
Carol Anderson, Chief Nurse at NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, part of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough ICS, said, “If you’re worried about going for your smear test, then you are not alone, it’s quite normal to feel anxiety or fear about going. However, the nurses who carry out these tests are experienced, and the test only take a few minutes. Having your smear test lowers your chances of getting cervical cancer, as the screening finds abnormal cells so they can be removed before they become cancer.”
There are around 3,200 cases of cervical cancer each year (2016-2018 average) in the UK and there are around 850 cervical cancer deaths in the UK every year, that's more than two every day (2017-2019).
Carol added, “If you’ve received an invitation for a smear test, please don’t put it off. Contact your GP practice and get it booked in this week.”