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Local woman launches pioneering support group in Ayrshire

Mon, 21/01/2013 - 00:00

Launch marks Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

A local woman is set to launch a pioneering support group during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (January 20-26), backed by a national charity.

The group is the first of its kind for the region and is for women dealing with cervical cancer, which kills around three UK women every day and sees one woman every three hours being diagnosed and facing an uncertain future.

Suzanne Fernando, a cervical cancer survivor from Dalry has been trained by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the only dedicated UK charity for women and those close to them affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities.

40 year old Suzanne said: “I was diagnosed with cervical cancer when I was 8 months pregnant, it was a complete shock. After a traumatic birth where I nearly died I started chemotherapy and radiotherapy just one month after being discharged from hospital.

“When I was going through the ordeal it would have been great to have some face to face contact with other women in a similar situation – that’s why I’m so passionate about starting this group, which will be an invaluable support for women in the area.

“The group will offer those who have been through a diagnosis of cervical cancer a confidential place to meet others affected and talk about their own experiences. They don’t even need to talk if they don’t want to, they can just come and have a coffee.

“I’m also supporting Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s campaign to raise awareness of the importance of prevention as well as early detection through knowing the symptoms to watch out for.

Robert Music, Director of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “The charity is using Cervical Cancer Prevention Week to highlight the importance of prevention through cervical screening (for women aged 20-60). The screening programme saves 5,000 lives in the UK every year yet 1 in 4* women in the Ayrshire and Arran region do not take up their screening invitation. We need to remind women in Scotland that this is a test that could quite literally save a life.

“The campaign is also making women aware of the symptoms of cervical cancer such as abnormal bleeding, pain during sex and unusual vaginal discharge, so they know what to look out for. Early detection is the key to improving survival rates and quality of life after diagnosis.

“We’re delighted that Suzanne is leading this group in Ayrshire which will offer wonderful support to women affected by cervical cancer in this community. Women we have supported voiced a need for groups like this, and we are delighted that we can help extend our support network to the region.”

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. *Scottish Cervical Screening Programme statistics 2011-12
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Cervical cancer is predominantly caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which can be caught as soon as you start having intimate relationships___.