Understanding the Importance of Cervical Screening: Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2024

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week: 22nd – 28th January 2024

Raising Awareness for Cervical Screening

This January, the UK Health Security Agency, the NHS, and numerous charities, including Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, Cancer Research UK, and Macmillan Cancer, are uniting for a vital cause: Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, taking place from 22nd to 28th January 2024. The core message of this campaign is clear: cervical screening saves lives.

The Stark Reality: The Urgency of Screening

Alarmingly, two women succumb to cervical cancer each day in the UK. Annually, about 3,200 women are diagnosed, and approximately 700 lose their battle with this illness. Despite the lifesaving potential of cervical screenings, one in three women do not attend their appointments. This neglect can have fatal consequences.

The Power of Prevention: Cervical Screening

Cervical screening is more than a check-up; it’s a preventive measure against cancer. The NHS Cervical Screening Programme, since its inception in 1988, has been pivotal in reducing cervical cancer mortality, saving an estimated 5,000 lives annually. Screenings detect and address potentially harmful cells at an early stage, stopping cancer in its tracks.

Understanding the Screening Programme

In England and Northern Ireland, women aged 25 to 49 receive a cervical screening invite every three years, and every five years thereafter until the age of 64. In Wales and Scotland, the screening occurs every five years for women aged 25 to 64. The screenings now primarily test for HPV types known to cause cervical cancer. This HPV primary screening, more sensitive and precise, allows for a safe extension of the screening interval from three to five years for low-risk women.

Your Role: Encouragement and Support

As members of a community that values health and wellbeing, it’s crucial we encourage and support women in attending their cervical screening appointments. This simple act can save lives.

For more information on cervical screening and Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, visit NHS Cervical Screening Programme.