Charity urges cervical cancer awareness

AROUND 20 per cent of women in the UK still fail to attend cervical screening when invited.

That is the message from gynaecological cancer charity The Eve Appeal, which is encouraging women to make Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2013 a turning point in their cervical health.

Each year in the UK 3300 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed and more than half of these are in women under the age of 50. Although very rare in women under 25, it is the second most common cancer in women under 35.

But in 2011/12 almost 1 in 3 women aged 25-29 ignored their invitation for screening - a procedure which is estimated to save up to 5000 lives each year due to early detection of cancer.

And this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (20-26 January) women are being urged to play it safe and start a potenially life-saving health habit.

Robert Marsh, CEO of The Eve Appeal, said: “Our hopes are that increased awareness around the importance of regular screening, along with further understanding as to what the screening is set out to detect, will help dispel any outstanding myths and encourage women to attend their cervical screening promptly when invited.

“Almost all cases of cervical cancer can be prevented by screening and HPV vaccination, and the earlier cervical cancer is diagnosed the better the outcome will be.

“Screening is free and can save your life so please pick up the phone as soon as that letter drops through the letterbox.”

To reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer:

- Go for screening when invited.

- Have the HPV vaccine if you are offered it.

- If you smoke, try to stop.

- Use a condom to reduce your risk of HPV and other sexually transmitted infections.

For more information on gynaecological cancers visit www.eveappeal.org.uk, or call 020 7605 0100.