As the UK marks Cervical Screening Awareness Week, women on the Island are being reminded of the importance of booking their cervical screening appointments. Figures show nearly a third of those eligible are not coming forward for their appointments.
Women between the ages of 25 and 64 years are invited for regular cervical screening under the NHS cervical screening programme. This can help reduce the number of women who develop invasive cervical cancer and to spot the problems early in those that do have it, reducing the number of women who die from it each year.
The latest data available from NHS Digital showed that in the 25-49 year old age group on the Isle of Wight, 18,496 women were eligible and 13,300 were screened. For the 50-64 age group 15,280 were eligible and 13,396 were screened.
Dr Michele Legg, Clinical Director for the Isle of Wight on the Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group said: “While our numbers show that we are successful in reaching many of the Island’s eligible female population for cervical screening, we do need more women to come forward to book their appointments.
“It is a not a test for cancer, it is a test to help prevent cancer and usually only takes a few minutes and our Island health practitioners can put you at ease and help support you through this safe, simple and effective process.”
Patients will usually receive a letter inviting them to book an appointment which they can do either using their surgery’s online appointments system or telephoning their practice directly. Results of the screening are usually sent directly to the patient around two weeks after their appointment.
Dr Roxanne Saunders from South Wight Medical Practice is a GP with a special interest women’s health, she said: “It can be all too easy with the busy pressures of modern living for our own health needs to take a back seat.
“Concern for the health of family and friends is a priority for many of us, but in order to look after others we must look after ourselves too. Taking up regular health checks including cervical screening is vitally important, and a great way to get empowered and take charge of managing our own health. When is your next smear due? Contact your GP surgery or screening service to find out today.”
More information about cervical screening can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/