Kirklees GPs are urging women to attend their cervical screening appointment as routine testing resumes across the borough.
Over the last few months, many tests have been postponed and invitations paused to help the NHS manage the COVID-19 pandemic. The screening process is getting underway again and appointment letters are now being sent out to eligible women.
As part of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme, women aged 25-49 are invited for a smear test at their GP practice every three years, while those aged 50-64 receive an invitation for screening every five years.
Sarah Sowden, advanced nurse practitioner at Brookroyd Surgery in Heckmondwike said; ‘I know that some women are reluctant to come in for their test, but there really is no need to be embarrassed or worried, it only takes a few minutes. Cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect against cervical cancer. Spotting the signs early means that treatment is often more successful. ‘
Every year in the UK, around 3,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under. The best way to protect yourself from cervical cancer is by attending cervical screening when invited.
Julie Pieske, advanced nurse practitioner at Mirfield Health Centre said; ‘Women may be more worried than usual about visiting their GP surgery. I want to reassure them that we have put measures in place to ensure the safety of all our patients and staff. This includes the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, and extra cleaning in waiting areas and treatment rooms.’
Many people worry about their smear test, but the nurses and GPs who carry out the test are there to support and make it as easy as possible for you.
Cervical screening aims to look for any changes to the cervix which could lead to cancer. Spotting the signs early means that treatment is often more successful.
If you are self-isolating, you should not book an appointment until you have finished isolating. If you are shielding, you will need to think about your individual situation and safety and discuss this with your GP or other healthcare professional.
Information about cervical screening is available on the NHS website: www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/
For more information about Cervical Screening Awareness Week (15 – 19 June 2020), visit the Jo’s Trust website: www.jostrust.org.uk