NEIL Hamilton, Leader of UKIP Wales and AM for Mid & West Wales is supporting Cervical Screening Awareness Week to highlight the potential life-saving benefits of cervical screening.
Smear tests prevents up to 75% of cervical cancers from developing and saves an estimated 5,000 lives across the UK every year. However one in four women do not attend when invited.
During Cervical Screening Awareness Week, which runs from June 11-17, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s only charity for women affected by cervical cancer and abnormalities, is warning that more needs to be done to make it easier for women to access a screening appointment.
The charity is calling for a greater range of appointment times at GP practices, increased access through sexual health services and innovation including the introduction of self-sampling.
Cervical screening is largely delivered in GP practices with five million women invited every year in the UK. However, new research by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has found a worrying one in eight women find it difficult or even impossible to book an appointment. 7.4% of women were told no appointments, at their GP practice were available, the last time they tried to book.
Mr Hamilton said: “I am delighted to be supporting Cervical Screening Awareness Week, and the work of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. It is extremely concerning that more than one in four women do not attend cervical screening. Part of the reason for this is that many women find it hard to get an appointment time that suits them and I support Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s calls for action to tackle this.
“Screening is vitally important. All women, and young women in particular, need to understand that cervical cancer can be prevented by detection of the early symptoms. I would urge my constituents to support the Cervical Screening Awareness Week and help to highlight this disease.”
Robert Music, Chief Executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “We’re delighted to have the support of Neil Hamilton. Despite cervical screening protecting against 75% of all cervical cancers, one in four women don’t attend. Our research shows that access to cervical screening across the UK is unequal and inconsistent and this needs to change. We have a free Helpline women can call if they have any questions about cervical screening, no question is too big or small. We would like all women to feel they can make an informed decision in attending this potentially life-saving test.”