Local NHS backs Cervical Screening Awareness Week
17th June 2020 | By Liz Mattock | Posted in Cancer
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups (LLR CCGs) are backing Cervical Screening Awareness Week (15-21 June 2020) by reminding women of the changes to cervical screening services during the coronavirus pandemic and the importance of booking an appointment if invited to.
This year the initiative, organised by Jo’s Trust, is raising awareness of changes because of coronavirus and what women can expect if they go for screening.
Over the last few months many tests have been postponed and invitations paused. However, when services do resume, GP surgeries in LLR will be inviting women who are due for screening to book an appointment and it is important that they do so and attend.
Dr Paul Danaher, GP and clinical lead for cancer at Leicester City CCG said: “Although I understand that some patients may be nervous about coming in for screening, I would like to assure them that it is safe to do so. We have measures in place to minimise any risks to our patients and staff, including use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and social distancing wherever possible.
“Screening is one of the best ways to identify any signs of cancer. Unfortunately, many women only find out they have cervical cancer when it is at an advanced stage because there can be very little noticeable symptoms at an early stage.
“Please be assured that, if you didn’t have your cervical screen during the initial coronavirus outbreak this is unlikely to cause you any harm. While cervical screening is important as it detects any risks that you may develop cancer in the future, cervical cancer takes years to develop.
“However, if women are due a cervical screen they shouldn’t delay longer than necessary as it is safe to attend. They will receive an invitation to book an appointment and I strongly encourage them to do that.”
Cancer of the cervix often has no symptoms in its early stages. If symptoms are experienced, the most common is abnormal vaginal bleeding, which can occur during or after sex, in between periods, or new bleeding after a woman has been through the menopause.
The NHS’s cervical cancer screening programme is offered to women aged between 25 to 49 every three years and for women aged 50 to 64 every five years.
Patients who are overdue for their cervical screening test or may be unsure of when they are due, should contact their GP practice for further information.
Information about cervical screening is available on the NHS website: www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/
Information on Cervical Screening Awareness Week (June 15-21) is available on Jo’s Trust website: www.jostrust.org.uk