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Our policy work

We're the only UK charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities and our vision is a future where cervical cancer is a thing of the past. 

Our mission is to see cervical cancer prevented and we campaign for excellence in cervical cancer treatment and prevention. 

Setting the scene: Facts about cervical cancer

  • Diagnoses of cervical cancer are increasing 
  • Last year over 3,200 women were given a life changing diagnosis, 890 women sadly lost their lives to the disease
  • A further 220,000 women are told every year they have a cervical abnormality that may require treatment
  • Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women under 35
  • It can be prevented

What needs to change

Cervical cancer could be eradicated in the UK and we want to reach that day as soon as possible so that no woman has to face a life-threatening and life-changing diagnosis. Until then, every woman diagnosed should have the best care, support and treatment possible.

Preventing cervical cancer through a patient-centred approach to cervical screening with multiple access points

Across the UK, we are fortunate to have excellent cervical screening programmes that save thousands of lives every year. However, of the five million women invited every year for screening, over one in four don’t attend and attendance is decreasing.  We want to see a patient-centred screening programme with multiple access points, and are calling for the following changes to make this a reality:

  1. GP practices should offer a range of smear test appointments, including early morning / evening / weekend appointments and drop-in clinics, according to the needs of their local population.
  2. Sexual health services should be funded to offer smear tests to women who are due their screen.
  3. Local authorities should raise awareness of the benefits of cervical screening, particularly through outreach work to groups who are less likely to attend.
  4. The Department of Health and Social Care should oversee a radical overhaul of the IT systems that underpin the screening progamme in England, to ensure the safety of the system and to allow the programme to develop.
  5. The Scottish Government should pilot the benefits of offering self-sampling, as the Scottish programme’s IT system is currently the most robust.

Preventing cervical cancer through improvements to, and increasing uptake of, the HPV vaccination programme

Jackie Doyle-Price Ensuring high coverage of the HPV vaccine is key to preventing cervical cancer and must remain a priority. We welcome plans to extend the HPV vaccination programme to boys and we hope to see Gardasil 9 adopted for both girls and boys to ensure maximum high-risk HPV protection in the new generation.

To support teachers to raise awareness of HPV and the importance of the vaccination and screening, we have teamed up with the Teenage Cancer Trust to develop lesson plans, available here.

Ensuring the best care, support and treatment for people with cervical cancer

We work with a wide variety of health care professionals, including oncologists, gynaecologists, specialist nurses, GPs, practice nurses and colposcopists.  We provide information, promote best practice guidance and campaign for clinical excellence for all patients.

Improving support and treatment for people experiencing the long term effects of cervical cancer and its treatment

There are around 49,000 women living with and beyond cervical cancer in the UK. For almost all women the impact of cervical cancer doesn’t end after treatment finishes as long-term emotional and physical effects can affect many areas of a woman’s life.  We are calling for much more to be done to support women experiencing long term effects of cervical cancer and its treatment. 

Recent research into the long term consequences of the cervical cancer found high numbers of women are living with unreported or unmet needs following diagnosis with comorbidity being extremely common. Eighty-eight percent of women have experienced at least one, 63% at least three and 24% at least six physical long term consequences of their cervical cancer treatment, such as problems with bowel or bladder function, bones, fertility, intimacy and early menopause. High numbers have not received treatment, including only half who have experienced bowel and urinary problems (41% and 54% respectively) and just 10% who have experienced negative changes in their sex life.

We are calling for:

  1. Quality of life indicators to be used alongside existing metrics such as survival and waiting times to ensure parity of esteem is given to this crucial measure.
  2. More consistent use of the Recovery Package so that problems are identified early and patients are correctly referred for specialist help.
  3. A national tariff for the long term consequences of cancer to drive funding and research into this largely neglected area.

For more details, read our report, ‘The long term consequences of cervical cancer and its treatment’.

We play an active role in the following policy related groups:

Computer says "no"

Our report highlights the growing issue of access to cervical screening across the UK, the problems and how they can be overcome.

Read our report

Our research

Our latest research covers awareness of cervical screening, understanding of HPV and the patient experience of having cell changes or cervical cancer

Find out more
Date last updated: 
19 Jul 2019