This week (22-28 January), is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.  Women in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw are being urged to contact their loved ones and encourage them to take up their offer of potentially lifesaving, cervical screening.

In South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw approximately 3 in 4 eligible women are attending their cervical screening (smear test) appointments.

The “#Textyour” campaign is encouraging, mothers, daughters, sisters, boyfriends and friends to send a text message to the ladies in their life, not only to make sure they attend their smear test appointment, but to go along with them for support and to plan something nice afterwards.

Kathy Wakefield, Senior Screening and Immunisation Manager for Yorkshire and the Humber said: “ I urge all ladies that as soon as they receive their invite letter to pick up the phone and book their smear test appointment, we all lead busy lives, but let this be an opportunity to put our health  and wellbeing first for a change. Look after your loved ones too, give them a call, drop them a text message or email and make sure they are up to date with their cervical screening. After all, it could be a lifesaver.”

Ladies who do not attend their smear tests are also being urged to visit the “Fear or Smear” website which addresses concerns women have about attending and provides them with the information needed to make an informed decision.

It is estimated that early detection and treatment through cervical screening can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers from developing.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged under  35, with around 9 women a day being diagnosed with the disease in the UK. The best way for women to protect themselves against cervical cancer is by taking up their cervical screening appointments.

Cervical screening is not a test for cancer; it is a screening test to detect changes to the cells of the cervix or neck of the womb.

All women between the ages of 25 and 64 are eligible for a free cervical screening test every three to five years. If you are aged 25-49 you will receive an appointment every three years, aged 50-64 every five years and if you are 65+ you will only be screened if you haven’t had a smear test since the age of 50 or have had recent abnormal tests.

If you have missed your cervical screening appointment, you are encouraged to contact your GP to book an appointment as soon as possible.

Don’t let your fears stop you from taking the test. Find out more at http://fearorsmear.dbh.nhs.uk

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