Doctor urges people in Lancashire and South Cumbria to keep booking cervical screening appointments

Dr Neil Smith

This Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (17-23 January 2022), people in Lancashire and South Cumbria are urged to book their cervical screening appointments.  Infection control measures are in place to protect patients and ensure screening appointments continue.

The Cancer Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria is encouraging women and people with a cervix to attend screening if they receive an appointment invitation.

Cervical screening is a free health test that helps prevent cervical cancer. It checks for a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV) and if you have HPV, cervical cell changes (abnormal cells).

Women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 49 are screened every three years, and those aged 50 to 64 every five years. People aged over 65 are only screened if one of their last three tests was abnormal.

If you are due for cervical screening, you will receive an invitation to book an appointment. Measures are in place to help protect patients and staff during the pandemic and it is still safe to attend your appointment.

Dr Neil Smith, GP and Cancer Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, it is a test to help prevent cancer. It is one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer and you can request a female nurse or doctor. It may be a little uncomfortable but only takes a few minutes and could save your life. Anyone with concerns or questions should contact their GP practice.

 

“Having cervical screening is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from the risk of cervical cancer. Cervical screening saves lives by finding early abnormalities that can be treated even before cancer begins. Cervical cancer is rare but does happen in younger women and it is important not to ignore possible symptoms, such as bleeding between periods, after sex and after menopause; changes to vaginal discharge; pain during or after sex; and unexplained lower back or pelvic pain. If you have any of these symptoms, contact your GP. They can assess you over the phone or by video call, and then they will decide if they need to see you at a face-to-face appointment for a further examination. Don’t risk your long-term health by delaying getting the help you need.”

Infection control measures are in place to ensure screening appointments continue. If you have COVID-19 symptoms you should self-isolate and book a PCR test. You should not book an appointment until you have finished isolating. If you have concerns please contact your GP practice to discuss your situation.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (opens in new window) is the UK’s leading cervical cancer charity, providing information and support to anyone affected and campaigning for excellence in cervical cancer treatment, care, and prevention. Its national Helpline is free, confidential and on 0808 802 8000.