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NHS England, GSK, Middlesbrough Council and Irwin Mitchell among employers supporting new cervical cancer campaign

Wed, 24/08/2016 - 08:58

Time to Test asks businesses to raise awareness of cervical cancer in the workplace and allow female employees the time to attend cervical screening


GSK, Middlesbrough Council and NHS England are among employers supporting a new campaign to raise awareness of cervical cancer in their workplace and allow female employees the time to attend cervical screening (smear tests) during the working day if they cannot get an appointment outside of work hours.

Time to Test is a new campaign from Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, the only UK charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities, and has been created to raise awareness of cervical cancer, a preventable disease but one that claims three lives every day. The campaign, which has also been supported by GE Healthcare has seen sign ups from employers across a wide range of industries including NHS England, Illamasqua, Middlesbrough Council, GSK, Irwin Mitchell, Action for Charity, Pelican Healthcare Limited, APL Health, The & Partnership and Prospectus.

The charity hopes more businesses will join the campaign at jostrust.org.uk/TimeToTest

Cervical screening can detect abnormal cells before they develop in to cancerous cells and prevents against 75% of cervical cancers, yet 1 in 4 women does not attend this potentially life-saving test and over 3,000 women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer. Research[1] by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust has shown that among women who have missed or delayed screening:

  • 39% didn't find it easy to leave work in order to attend
  • 26% would be more encouraged to attend if their company was more flexible and they didn't have to take holiday for an appointment
  • One in three 25-29 year olds, where screening attendance is at its lowest, are too embarrassed to talk to their employers about screening.

Time to Test is a campaign for every industry with the aim of increasing accessibility to cervical screening, and ultimately saving lives. As part of the campaign, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust is asking businesses to raise awareness of cervical cancer and how it can be prevented amongst their employees and to ensure they know vital information such as symptoms and where to get support.

Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust said: "Worryingly the number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer each day has recently risen from eight women to nine and the number of women delaying or ignoring their cervical screening invitation is also rising year on year. We know from our research that for working women a barrier to screening is accessibility. Through Time to Test we hope to encourage businesses to promote cervical cancer prevention and ensure female staff have the time to get tested. We are delighted that so many companies have already joined the campaign and hope many more follow suit. Cervical screening is a five minute test, but it is one that could save a life."


For more information on the campaign visit jostrust.org.uk/TimeToTest




For further information or comment please contact:

Elisabeth Schuetz or Kate Sanger at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust on 020 7250 8311 / 07772 290 064 or email [email protected] / [email protected]


Notes to editors

About cervical cancer

  • The majority (99.7%) of cervical cancers are caused by persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection which causes changes to the cervical cells
  • HPV is an extremely common virus; around four out of five people are exposed to the virus. Anyone who is sexually active can be infected with HPV at some time. The body’s immune system will usually clear it up
  • Around 220,000 UK women are diagnosed with cervical abnormalities each year
  • 9 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 3 women lose their lives every day.
  • 5 million UK women are invited to cervical screening each year
  • Women aged 25-49 are invited every three years, whilst women aged 50-64 are invited every five years

About Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

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 and their loved ones affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. The National Helpline is on 0808 802 8000.

[1] YouGov Plc for Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. Total sample size was 2,718 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 7-10 January 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK Women (aged 18+).