Women urged to take up NHS cervical screening invitations

Women are being urged to attend NHS cervical screening when invited as new figures show three in ten of those eligible for screening in the north-west do not take up the potentially life-saving offer.
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The NHS invites women and people with a cervix for screening every three to five years depending on their age, or more frequently if the high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) is detected, with the programme saving thousands of lives annually.

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Tricia Spedding, head of public health, NHS England North West said: “Cervical screening – also known as a ‘smear test’ - saves thousands of lives by preventing cancer. I would encourage women and people with a cervix, such as trans men and non-binary people assigned female at birth, to take part.

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“Some people may find cervical screening uncomfortable but there are ways to make your appointment work better for you. When booking, ask for a longer time slot, so you can speak through any concerns you may have. And remember, you are in control of your appointment.”

In 2022-23, everyone who was due a test – a total of 4.62 million individuals aged 25 to 64 in England – was invited to book an appointment, and 3.43 million attended screening during the year.

Screening helps prevent cervical cancer by using a highly effective test to check for HPV, which is found in over 99% of all cervical cancers and which may cause abnormal cells to develop in the cervix. These abnormal cells can, over time, turn into cancer if left untreated.

More information on NHS cervical screening and how to book an appointment is available at www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening.