NHS urges people to book cervical screening

The NHS has urged those eligible for cervical screening to come forward for an appointment, as the latest data reveals that nearly a third of those eligible do not take up an appointment.

Last year, the NHS sent a record number of invites for cervical screening in the last year, as part of a plan to eradicated the cancer through vaccination and early identification. More than five million invites were sent in the last full year (2021/22) – 10.5 per cent more than before the pandemic.

Those eligible include those aged 25-64 who are invited by letter every three to five years depending on their age.

Screening helps prevent cervical cancer by using a test to check for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV), which is found in over 99 per cent of all cervical cancers and which may cause abnormal cells to develop in the cervix. If left untreated, these abnormal cells can turn into cancer over time.

Screening involves taking a small sample of cells from the cervix and looking for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) that could develop into cervical cancer if left untreated.

GP and NHS Interim Medical Director for Primary Care, Dr Kiren Collison said: “We have made great progress on our Cervical Screening Programme and the combined effects of the HPV vaccine and the new, more sensitive way of screening for cervical cancer means that we have the opportunity to eliminate cervical cancer altogether.

“Having the potential to completely eradicate a disease that affects thousands of people every year is remarkable, but in order to do this, it is vital that people take up the offer of a test – so if you have received an invitation, or missed your last screening, don’t wait to make an appointment, put your health first and book an appointment with your GP practice or sexual health clinic today – getting checked can save your life.”

The request from the NHS comes during Cervical Cancer Prevention week, which began on Monday, which aims to raise awareness of cervical cancer and drive uptake of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme.

Image by Darko Stojanovic from Pixabay

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