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Local woman calls for women in Leicester to take up their cervical screening invitation

Mon, 21/01/2013 - 00:00

Leicester reports lowest cervical screening uptake in the East Midlands

A local woman is calling for increased awareness of cervical cancer and the ways it can be prevented during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (January 20-26), following Leicester City PCT reporting the lowest cervical screening uptake for the whole of the East Midlands. The most recent statistics show a 74.7% uptake, 3.9% lower than the national average and 6.3% lower than the average for the East Midlands.

For those aged between 25 and 49 in Leicester City PCT who are called for screening every 3 years, uptake drops to 67.7%, almost 10% lower than the national average and 5.5% lower than Nottingham – the next lowest uptake for the East Midlands.

Debbie Kilmister, a cervical cancer survivor, from Glenfield, Leicester, is also launching a support group and has been trained by national charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. The group is the first of its kind for the region and is dedicated solely to women in the area who have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, a disease that kills three women every day and sees a further nine diagnosed and facing an uncertain future.

Debbie said: “I was diagnosed with cervical cancer at just 30 years old following a routine cervical screening. I had a six month old baby and was still on maternity leave, it was absolutely devastating.
“Almost immediately I underwent a radical hysterectomy, the speed and shock with which everything happened was unbelievable. Luckily I had a fantastic network of support around me but the thought that there might be women going through a similar ordeal without anyone to talk to is heartbreaking. This is why I’ve started a support group in Leicester.

“It’s absolutely shocking to know a quarter of women in Leicester are not attending their cervical screenings. A cervical cancer diagnosis can lead to invasive treatment that may leave long terms effects including the possible loss of fertility. I would urge anyone to make the appointment as soon as they are due – I’m glad I did because it was a simple five minute procedure that saved my life.”

Robert Music, Director of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK's only charity dedicated to women and those close to them affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities said: “The cervical screening programme saves 5,000 lives each year in the UK yet over 1 in 4 women in Leicester are failing to attend their cervical screening test and this number rises to almost 1 in 3 for those who should be attending every 3 years. The more we can do to stress the importance of this life saving test the better.

“We’re delighted Debbie is leading this support group in Leicester. For those women who have been through a diagnosis of cervical cancer, the group will offer them an opportunity for face to face support, where they can meet others affected in a confidential setting and share experiences.”
For details of the first meeting visit www.jostrust.org.uk

For more information and to arrange interviews contact Maddy Durrant, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust on 020 7936 7498 or [email protected]

Notes for Editors

1. 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.
2. The charity’s new national helpline is on 0808 802 8000. It can be called by anyone within the UK and offers reliable information, support and signposting on a wide range of topics, including initial screening concerns and screening results, treatment, recovery and palliative care.
3. 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.
4. It is estimated that the UK Cervical Screening Programmes save 5,000 lives every year and if HPV vaccination take up continues to reach at least 80% it is believed this could result in a 2/3rds reduction in incidence in women under 30 by 2025.
5. Cervical cancer is predominantly caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which can be caught as soon as you start having intimate relationships___.