Mandy Ferncombe is a Health Improvement Practitioner at East Dunbartonshire CHP
"I first started my job as health improvement practitioner for Sexual Health and Cancer two years ago. The job involves educating the public about sexual health and cervical cancer so that there is an increased awareness and one of our goals is obviously for earlier diagnosis of cervical cancer.
"One of the first things I was told was that if I wanted to read up on cervical cancer I should visit the Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust's website, it would be the key site to go to for information on the subject. Looking back now, it most definitely is; not only does it have sections about the disease itself but it also breaks it down into sections about what the cervix is, cell changes, just everything you would want to know and that needs explaining. It also gives clear information on the benefits of screening.
"We inform and raise awareness of cancer among the public by being active within the community: we go to women's groups, lunch clubs, beautician training at local colleges and even visiting local hairdressers. We talk to them about cervical cancer, the link to HPV and prevention through screening and knowing about signs and symptoms but it’s always good to leave them with something, remind them of what you just told them and answer any questions that might come up later. That's where Jo's comes in.
"Jo's has an incredibly well stocked range of materials that I order regularly and give out at every visit I make. The NHS has great resources but actually not a lot on cervical cancer so for Jo's to be there concentrating on the issue, being experts, that's invaluable. We as health improvement practitioners really value and trust their professionalism and the fact that the materials are also free of charge is fantastic.
"I'm also really impressed with their recent addition of the film resource for women with learning disabilities. We have quite a few women with LD in the community and this resource is just fantastic and will be promoting it locally whenever we can.
"All in all, Jo's is an informative, professional and central point to come to for anything about cervical cancer."