NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging women to go for their regular smear tests during cervical screening awareness week.
Patients are reminded to contact their GP practice if they receive a letter in the post or if they are overdue for a screening to book an appointment.
Dr Debbie Harvey, a Macmillan GP from NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “It is so important for women make an appointment when they get the letter through, or to ask their GP practice when they should be going for a screening if they are unsure. It’s never too late!
“The awareness week is a great way to remind people about the importance of cervical screening. Our GPs across south Sefton do encourage patients to have a screening all year round and stress how cervical cancer is usually preventable if abnormalities are found early on. Patients often worry that the smear is a test for cancer and this is not the case. A smear helps us to pick up early changes which might lead to cancer which is why it is so important.”
Davina Hanlon, consultant in Public Health and cancer screening lead for Sefton Council, said: “Thousands of lives are saved each year from people going for cancer screenings and I can’t stress enough how important it is to make an appointment.
“Cervical screening is offered to women aged between 25 and 64 and you will receive a letter when you are due an appointment and I would urge you to book.”
According to a survey carried out by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, one in three women over 50 has delayed or not attended their cervical screening test, which should take place every five years. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust surveyed 1,000 women over 50.
The average time women put off getting screened was more than two years but one in 10 delayed their test for more than five years.
Across the whole of the UK, women are invited for cervical screening between the ages of 25 and 64. Women aged 25-49 are invited every three years and women aged 50-64 are invited every five years.
For more information on cervical screening please visit: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cervical-screening-test/Pages/Introduction.aspx. If you have any questions about smear tests please speak to your GP practice.