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A local screening initiative has been named winner of the 2012 Cervical Screening Awards run by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust after the area saw a reverse in the downward trend of cervical screening uptake.
Rita Sandhu, Cervical Screening Outreach Nurse, from Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, received the top award for her Cervical Screening Outreach campaign.
Rita said: “I’m thrilled to receive this award after working hard to increase cervical screening uptake in Walsall. We saw the area had a lower than average uptake for screening and this was decreasing faster than it was nationally. The campaign therefore aimed to target ‘hard to reach’ groups such as Black & Minority Ethnic groups where a large proportion of the Walsall borough did not understand the English language.
“Other groups included those with a learning or physical disability, mothers with young children as well as women in general who are scared, embarrassed or worried about being screened.
“The programme was about tailoring our approach to the needs of the individual and in some cases speaking with the ladies on a one to one basis. Activities for the programme included health promotion with community groups, setting up special clinics, conducting home visits and communicating with poorer performing GP practices.
“We are delighted that through this campaign we managed to halt the decline in screening uptake in the area and are now seeing a steady rise.”
Robert Music, Director, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s only charity dedicated to supporting women affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities, said: “Currently screening uptake in Walsall stands at 77.8% meaning that over 1 in 5 women are failing to be screened regularly. With 9 women a day being diagnosed with cervical cancer and the cervical screening programme saving around 5,000 lives a year, its crucial that all women are taking up their invite.
“The Cervical Screening Outreach campaign lead by Rita showed a good understanding of women and their individual needs. The excellent results which included very positive patient feedback made this a very worthy winner. It’s fantastic to see campaigns like this are 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.