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Our 2024 Manifesto: The future of cervical cancer prevention, treatment, and care.

Every year in the UK, 3200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and over 800 women lose their lives to this disease. 

We have the opportunity to consign a cancer to the history books and eliminate cervical cancer in the UK. NHS England have pledged to achieve this by 2040 and we want to help make this happen even sooner, and ensure that all women across the UK have the best information, support, and opportunities to prevent cervical cancer. 

When cervical cancer cannot be prevented, we want women to be diagnosed as early as possible and to receive the best treatment and care. We cannot be complacent and assume that cervical cancer elimination is inevitable and we must do more for the thousands of women affected by this disease. 

Our manifesto sets out our priorities for cervical cancer prevention, treatment, and care. Tackling inequalities and inefficiencies in cervical cancer prevention, treatment, and care must be a priority for the next Government.

 

 

 

Our recommendations

We are calling for:

Prevention - Cervical cancer is a largely preventable disease, through the combination of HPV vaccines, cervical screening, and treatment for cervical cell changes.

  1. To address inequalities in the uptake of the HPV vaccine, we need: 
    • Improved understanding of HPV and the HPV vaccine, with accessible, patient- focused information. 
    • Patients and healthcare professionals to be able to access complete vaccine records. 
  2. To tackle the barriers and inequalities in cervical screening, we need: 
    • Investment in engagement work to improve our understanding of local needs, and shape accessible, person-centred information. 
    • Greater flexibility in where and when women can access cervical screening, reflecting the needs of the population. 
    • Easier booking of screening appointments, which means improved digital access and better resources across primary care. 
    • Healthcare professionals to have resources, support, and policies that enable them to deliver cervical screening for everyone.
    • HPV self-sampling available as an option within national screening programmes as soon as there is enough evidence to support its safe and effective implementation. 
  3. For the laboratory services that support the cervical screening programme, we need: 
    • Urgent workforce solutions and long-term workforce planning in pathology, for these services to be sustainable. 
    • The entire cancer prevention workforce using systems which are fit for purpose and have the ability and capacity to implement the best new technologies.
  4. For better understanding of barriers to attending colposcopy, and improved patient experiences, we need:
    • Large scale studies to examine barriers to  colposcopy, patient experiences, and successful interventions to improve  colposcopy attendance. 
    • Investment in the colposcopy workforce, with long-term planning to ensure it can deliver quality and timely services
    • Clear and consistent information about HPV, cervical screening, and colposcopy, to allow women to make informed decisions about their health.

Elimination

  1.  To successfully eliminate cervical cancer in the UK, we need:
    • Government commitments to eliminating cervical cancer, and dedicated investment in the programmes and workforce that will make this happen. 
    • Leadership and ringfenced resources to ensure that NHS England’s pledge to eliminate cervical cancer by 2040 becomes a reality.
    • Information, support, and opportunities to prevent cervical cancer for women across the UK, and for elimination commitments in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. 
    • Strategic planning and effective partnerships between government, NHS, and charities to maintain momentum
    • Continued efforts to address inequalities and inefficiencies across the programmes. 

Diagnosis

  1. To improve awareness of cervical cancer symptoms amongst women and healthcare professionals, we need: 
    • To recognise that cervical cancer does not always have symptoms, but for women to be able to identify when there are symptoms, and for healthcare professionals to follow the right referral pathways.
    • To empower and trust women to know their own bodies, and for their symptoms and concerns to be taken seriously by healthcare  professionals.

Treatment

  1. To ensure women receive high quality, timely treatment for cervical cancer, we need: 
    • Action to recruit more staff and retain the skilled professionals currently working across cancer prevention, diagnostics, treatment, and care.
  2. For faster and fairer access to treatment for advanced cervical cancer.
    • An end to the disparities in access to treatment across the UK.
    • For patients to receive clear information about how and where they can participate in clinical trials. 

Living with and beyond cervical cancer

  1. For women to receive the best support during and after cervical cancer treatment, we need: 
    • For all patients and their GP to receive a treatment summary, detailing their treatment, potential side effects, and where they can access ongoing emotional and clinical support.
    • An improved awareness of radiotherapy side-effects, and a greater provision of late-effects clinics.
    • Consistent signposting to person-centred care, that meets women’s physical and emotional needs, throughout diagnosis, treatment, and the years to follow.
    • Fully staffed and resourced specialist teams to deliver services, and facilitate access to medication, information, support, and palliative care.

Research

  1. To close the gaps in understanding throughout cervical cancer prevention and treatment, we need:
    • More research into HPV-negative cancers, to understand the causes and how they might be prevented or detected earlier.
    • An improved understanding of HPV, to determine why some people have persistent infections, and how we might use the HPV vaccine to help more people.
    • A wider range of treatment options for women living with advanced cervical cancer.
    • The development of existing treatment methods, to make them more effective and to reduce the likelihood of side effects. 

 

Share this manifesto on social media with the hashtags #CervicalCancerPreventionWeek, #WeCan, and tag @JosTrust to help highlight what the UK can do to make cervical cancer a thing of the past. If you would like a Word document version of this report, please email [email protected].

Get involved and together #WeCan end cervical cancer.

Your support is essential in helping us see the day where cervical cancer is a thing of the past.

Date last updated: 
19 Jan 2023