This year’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Week takes place between Monday, January 17 and Sunday, January 23.
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is continuing its vital work in providing information and support to those affected by the disease, campaigning for excellence in treatment and prevention and reducing the impact the illness has on people’s lives.
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The upcoming awareness week is such an important one in the charity’s calendar, with the team working tirelessly to share the importance of cervical screening.
And you can play a part too.
What is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week?
The initiative is focused on raising awareness of cervical screening, and giving people the support and information they need if they get an unexpected result.
According to figures from Jo’s Trust, every year 220,000 people with a cervix are told they have cell changes after their routine screening, with many more given a HPV diagnosis.
One in three people with a cervix also do not attend their screening appointment at all.
The charity is working to change that, and hopes to encourage people to book their screening and remind people who get unexpected results that they aren’t alone in having questions or needing help.
When should I go for my cervical screening?
Sometimes called a smear test, cervical screening is a free health test available on the NHS to check for the HPV virus.
In the UK, you can be invited for your first smear up to six months before you turn 25 and in most cases, you will continue to be invited up until the age of 64.
The result of your screening will determine how often you are invited for subsequent checks; this could be every year, every three years or every five years.
You may also be referred to colposcopy, an examination to take a closer look at your cervix, for more tests.
How can I help the campaign?
It’s easy to get involved with Cervical Cancer Prevention Week; the most important thing you can do is talk about why it’s important to attend a screening appointment and share your own tips.
What do you wish you had known about the appointment before going along, what would you say to someone worrying about theirs and what helped you if you received unexpected results?
Your own experiences and information may prompt someone you know to book their own test, or seek out further support if they need it.
Visit the Jo’s Trust website for further details about the initiative and other ways to take part.