Promotional messages will be shared across Coventry and Warwickshire during ‘Cervical Cancer Prevention Month 2019’ with the aim of increasing the uptake of cervical screening – or ‘smear tests’- among women in the area. This initiative is being run in partnership between Public Health and NHS services across Coventry and Warwickshire.
A series of free cancer screening education events will be provided in a range of community settings. These are aimed at local people in the area, especially those who work with voluntary and community groups, learning and disability groups, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, faith , charities and support groups, refugee and asylum seekers and the LGBTQI community.
Women in the area are being targeted as part of a Coventry and Warwickshire campaign to increase the uptake of smear tests.
National data by Cancer Research UK shows that cervical screening prevents at least 2,000 cervical cancer deaths each year in the UK. Women screened between the ages of 35 to 64 are thought to have a 60 to 80% lower risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 5 years following the test compared to women who haven’t been screened. The benefit of screening increases with age. Since cervical screening started in the 1980s in Great Britain, rates of cervical cancer have almost halved.
Berni Lee, Consultant in Public Health at Warwickshire County Council, said: “The cervical screening test is free to all women between the ages of 25 and 64 years. It is very effective in enabling the early detection of changes to the cells around the cervix which, if left unchecked, could lead to the development of cancer.
“The majority of women do understand the importance of the test and go for screening when invited, but a significant minority do not. One of the reasons why women do not attend is because of a lack of understanding of the importance of the test and the health benefits it can bring. Thus we really want to raise awareness of the importance of cervical screening among women across Coventry and Warwickshire
“We’re looking forward to meeting with a wide range of different people who can help us get this message out. The events will provide an opportunity to share the facts about cervical cancer and the benefits of screening. Health professionals will be on hand at the events to provide information on various aspects of cervical screening.
“One of the ways in which we hope to reach women in the area is to get the message through existing health services in the city and through support groups/forums, voluntary and community organisations, family health hubs and social media.”
Cervical screening, checks the health of a woman’s cervix by taking a sample of the cells at the neck of the womb. It is crucial for the early detection of cervical cancer.
A local provider, Foleshill Women’s Training Centre (FWT) is commissioned by NHS Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group to educate predominately ethnic minority women on the importance of cervical screening by addressing cultural issues and language barriers to help women understand what cervical screening means and to help increase cervical screening uptake.
FWT is supporting the CCG to tackle the issue by going out and meeting with women from Black and Minority Ethnic Communities to understand the importance of screening, and by supporting local GP Practices in the Foleshill and St Michaels Ward in Coventry.
The national cervical screening programme saves the life of one woman in our region every day. However, there are concerns that too many women are not making time for this important health check for a variety of reasons. Evidence indicates that women often do not attend because of:
- lack of knowledge about cervical cancer and the purpose of cervical screening
- embarrassment about the test
- fear of pain
- fear that the test will result in a diagnosis of cancer
Berni added: “The promotional messages will help to explain what happens during the test for those who are nervous about the procedure It is important that women are able to make an informed choice about whether to have a smear or not.
Alongside working with community groups we will also be supporting GP practices to provide more flexible access to cervical screening tests. For example Coventry and Warwickshire now offer GP and Nurse appointments in the evening and at weekends. This means women have the option to see a GP or practice nurse at a time which is most convenient to them.
The events are being held across the area in a number of different locations to make it easier for people to attend.
|Monday 14th January 2019
10.00am – 11.30am
Coventry Rugby Club, Butts Road, Coventry
|Tuesday 15th January 2019
10.00am – 11.30am
|Ambleside Social Club
Ambleside Way, Nuneaton CV11 6AT
|Wednesday 16th January 2019
10.00am – 11.30am
|Youth Centre Sydni Centre
Cottage Square, Sydenham
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV31 1PT
|Thursday 17th January 2019
2.00pm – 3.30pm
Newbold Road, Rugby CV21 2LN
Register online and book a place at an event in your area: www.cwcancerevent.eventbrite.com