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Jade's legacy diminishing as serious concerns around cervical screening uptake continue

Thu, 18/10/2012 - 01:00

Three years on from Jade Goody’s battle with cervical cancer, the numbers of women aged 25-29 attending their cervical screening test has increased slightly from 62.5 per cent to 63 per cent suggesting some of those who were screened in 2009 have returned for their three yearly check. However statistics out today show that in 2011/12 almost 1 in 3 women aged 25-29 still ignore their invitation whilst uptake for women aged 60-64 has hit a 15 year low, down by 0.7 per cent to 72.7 per cent.

Robert Music, Director of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s only charity dedicated to supporting women of all ages with cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities comments: “Cervical cancer kills three women every day but is largely preventable thanks to the cervical screening programme which saves around 5,000 lives every year. Therefore whilst it’s positive to see a reverse in the downward trend of screening in the 25-29 age group there are still thousands of women failing to get screened.

“In particular we have concerns for those aged 60-64. With reports [1] showing that over half of women aged 50–64, with fully invasive cancer had not been screened for at least 7 years, it’s vital that older eligible women where cervical cancer survival is worse continue to prioritise this life saving test.

“A study [2] by the charity of women aged 50+ found a poor level of understanding when it comes to the importance of attending screening and this includes a third stating they did not consider screening a necessary test for all women with that figure more than doubling to 67% amongst those who had never attended screening.

“It’s vital that women recognise this is a disease that affects women of all ages and we need to do a lot more to encourage those women who have missed or delayed a screening test to take proactive steps to protecting themselves against cervical cancer.

“If numbers of women being screened continue to fall, then sadly there is a very real risk that more women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. The impact of a diagnosis cannot be underestimated and for those that survive, many will go through invasive and painful treatments, suffering on-going side effects with a possibility of losing the ability to have children.

“We need to remind and reassure women that this is a simple five minute procedure, given once every three years to five years dependent on age.”

For further information, comment or case studies please contact Maddy Durrant on 020 7936 7498 / 07772 290 064 or email [email protected]

Ends

Notes to editors
 

  1. NHSCSP Audit of Invasive Cervical Cancer 2007-2010
  2. From YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2397 women aged 50 – 70. Fieldwork undertaken between 16 and 21 December 2011 The survey was carried out online [*].
  3. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (www.jostrust.org.uk) is the UK’s only dedicated charity offering support and information to women of all ages affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. The National Helpline is on 0808 802 8000
  4. Around 3 women in the UK die each day from cervical cancer, with someone diagnosed every 3 hours
  5. Over 300,000 women a year are told they may have a cervical abnormality that could require treatment.
  6. It is estimated that the UK Cervical Screening Programmes save 5,000 lives every year.

* Further information from the 50+ survey:

  • 31% didn’t consider screening necessary for all women with that figure more than doubling (67%) amongst those who had never attended screening.
  • 68% were unaware that the main cause of Cervical Cancer is HPV
  • Single women aged 50 to 70 were most likely to say the screening invitation seemed irrelevant (5%).
  • Only 33% said the information they received was informative and less than half (49%) thought their screening invite made it clear why the test is important
  • 37% said they would be more likely to book a screening appointment if they were given age-relevant information