The im­por­tance of not miss­ing tests

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Your Views - Robert Mu­sic, chief ex­ec­u­tive Jo’s Cer­vi­cal Can­cer Trust

THE lat­est sta­tis­tics show at­ten­dance of cer­vi­cal screen­ing in Eng­land is the low­est for two decades.

Jo’s Cer­vi­cal Can­cer Trust warns that more moth­ers, daugh­ters, sis­ters and friends will be lost to cer­vi­cal can­cer if this does not change.

I am ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed to see th­ese sta­tis­tics, how­ever, sadly I am not sur­prised. The Jade Goody ef­fect has long gone.

We have spo­ken out time and time again about the need for in­vest­ment and ac­tion to im­prove cer­vi­cal screen­ing at­ten­dance, how­ever this is sim­ply not hap­pen­ing.

The Can­cer Strat­egy For Eng­land em­pha­sises pre­ven­tion so it is in­cred­i­bly frus­trat­ing to see lack of ac­tiv­ity to in­crease par­tic­i­pa­tion in a pro­gramme that can pre­vent di­ag­noses of cer­vi­cal can­cer.

We should be proud of our cer­vi­cal screen­ing pro­gramme, it saves thou­sands of lives ev­ery year and fur­ther de­vel­op­ments such as the in­tro­duc­tion of HPV pri­mary screen­ing are only go­ing to make it bet­ter.

How­ever with in­creas­ing num­bers not at­tend­ing fewer will ben­e­fit from th­ese im­prove­ments.

As a char­ity we are work­ing our hard­est but we can’t do it alone.

There are some ex­am­ples of amaz­ing work hap­pen­ing across the coun­try to im­prove up­take and we need to see this am­pli­fied, lo­cally and na­tion­ally or lives will be lost.

We are lead­ing busier, more mo­bile lives there­fore th­ese sta­tis­tics must surely serve as a call to ac­tion to make the screen­ing pro­gramme more ac­ces­si­ble, again, some­thing we have been say­ing for years

The char­ity is call­ing for the Gov­ern­ment to fund a na­tional aware­ness cam­paign along­side in­creased in­vest­ment to fa­cil­i­tate in­no­va­tion and ac­tiv­ity at a lo­cal level.

A lack of fund­ing is hin­der­ing the progress of changes which will in­crease ac­ces­si­bil­ity for women in­clud­ing the abil­ity to at­tend screen­ing at GPs other than the one they are reg­is­tered with, such as close to work, at more sex­ual health ser­vices and to be able to self sam­ple.

In a re­port re­leased in Jan­uary 2017, Jo’s Cer­vi­cal Can­cer Trust found al­most half (44%) of lo­cal author­i­ties and al­most two thirds (60%) of CCGs had not un­der­taken any ac­tiv­i­ties to in­crease screen­ing at­ten­dance in the last two years with many stat­ing it is not their re­spon­si­bil­ity.

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