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A local Scottish screening initiative has received a ‘Highly Commended’ award as part of the 2012 Cervical Screening Awards run by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s only charity dedicated to supporting women affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities.
The NHS Lanarkshire North East Unit Health Improvement Team won the award for their ‘Smear Amnesty’ campaign.
Christine Reid, Health Improvement Officer, said: “The team is thrilled to receive this award. Screening uptake has been slowly but steadily falling in Lanarkshire and across Scotland over the past ten years. In particular areas of deprivation have historically struggled to reach target – mainly in North Lanarkshire.
“The Smear Amnesty project targeted individual non-attenders who were sent an invitation in an eye catching bright pink envelope. We invited them to a new evening session which offered a relaxed environment with massages, tea/coffee etc, along with an opportunity to discuss their fears and concerns with a female smear taker. Women could also bring a ‘buddy’ to ease the experience.
“We also worked with key organisations in the community and South Asian women, our largest minority ethnic group, to run education sessions on the benefit of screening.
“We were delighted to see 126 women from 7 practices attend 19 smear amnesties. Many of the women were persistent non-attenders with a gap in between smears ranging from 3½ to 30 years.
“Through a questionnaire we also found that the time most women would like to have a smear is in the evening. We now have plans to roll this campaign out Lanarkshire-wide.”
Robert Music, Director of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “Currently screening uptake in Lanarkshire is 80.1% meaning that 1 in 5 women are failing to be screened regularly. With 9 women a day in the UK being diagnosed with cervical cancer and the UK cervical screening programme saving around 5,000 lives a year, it’s crucial that all women are taking up their invite.
“Judges thought the Smear Amnesty campaign was an innovative project showing positive work amongst different communities. It’s fantastic to see campaigns like this increasing screening uptake and making a real difference.”
The Cervical Screening Awards aim to recognise innovative local campaigns that have worked hard to increase awareness, drive uptake and ultimately save women from a disease that claims three lives every day.
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For further information contact:
Maddy Durrant, Communications Manager on 020 7936 7498 or 07772 290064
Notes to editors
About Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust
• The Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust Cervical Screening Awards were first launched in 2010 during Cervical Screening Awareness Week. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (www.jostrust.org.uk) - is the UK’s only dedicated cervical cancer charity offering support and information for those affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities.
National Helpline 0808 802 8000
• The judging panel include: Julietta Patnick, Director, NHS Cancer Screening Programmes; Tim Elliott, Team Leader, Cancer Screening and Male Cancers at the Department of Health; Maggie Luck, Screening Coordinator, Public Health, Camden PCT, Robert Music, Director, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust
About cervical cancer
• Around three women in the UK die each day from cervical cancer, with someone being diagnosed every three hours facing an uncertain future.
• Over 300,000 women a year are told they may have a cervical abnormality that could require treatment.
• It is estimated that the NHS Cervical Screening Programmes saves 5,000 lives every year
• Cervical cancer is predominantly caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which can be caught as soon as you start having intimate relationships.
• According to research funded by Cancer Research UK and presented at the National Cancer Research Institute’s annual conference in November 2011, the incidence of cervical cancer in women in their 20s has risen by over 40 per cent between 1992 and 2006 in England, despite the overall incidence of cervical cancer dropping by 30 per cent.
• The Cervical Cancer Audit produced by the NHS Cervical Screening Programme in July 2011 showed that for women aged 50-64 with fully invasive cervical cancer (1B+) 56% had not been screened within the last 7 years compared to only 16% of women without cervical cancer.