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Women Urged To Attend Screening As Cervical Cancer Screening Numbers Drop

New figures out show a drop in screening numbers - leaving more women putting themselves at risk from a largely preventable disease. With the so-called The 'Jade Goody effect', which saw cervical screening rates rise for the first time in almost a decade last year, not being maintained; an NHS Information Centre report shows only 3.3 million women aged 25-64 were tested by the NHS Cervical Screening Programme in 2009-10 compared to the previous year's peak of 3.6 million.

Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK's only charity dedicated to women and those close to them affected by cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer said that the UK saw a surge in women going for screening after Jade Goody died.

Jo's Cervical Cancer TrustA recent study showed that the publicity around her illness encouraged numbers to go up but sadly that hasn't been sustained. Many women have taken on board Jade's message but Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust are concerned that there is a worrying downward trend with thousands of women ignoring their screening invitation received from their GP/NHS.

The number of women screened at least once in the past five years has remained the same at just under 80%, with an increase in those aged 25-49. This is positive but even though coverage has gone up for women aged 25-29, the figures seem to suggest more than one in three women are still not going for a test, which could mean the difference between life and death. And in women aged 55-59 we have seen coverage fall below 80% for the first time in ten years. Each day in the UK around three women die from cervical cancer but this is a largely preventable disease and screening has a massive part to play in that.

The latest figures highlight the vital need to step up targeted campaigns to encourage more women to take proactive steps to reduce their risk of cervical cancer. It is tragic to think women are ignoring the invitation for a test that takes less than five minutes but which could save their lives. The NHS cervical screening programme saves an estimated 4,500 lives every year in England. Approaching 1,000 women die from cervical cancer in the UK each year with around 2,800 newly diagnosed. Cervical screening figures had been steadily falling since 2002.

Women are urged to attend cervical screening dates and in LTB1064/10, the union is urging all its branches to actively encourage Women members to attend their cervical screening appointments. It also reminds union members who are parents to ensure their teenage daughters take up the HPV vaccinations at school and at their local doctor's practice.

The CWU is sipporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 23rd - 29th January 2011

For Further information visit the Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust Website at

Source: CWU / Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust

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