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Lancashire and South Cumbria residents urged to take up offer of ‘reassuring’ cancer screening

14 June 2024

  • Campaigns and awareness

People in Lancashire and South Cumbria are being urged to accept their invites for a screening programme that helps save thousands of lives every year.​

Cervical Screening Awareness Week 2024 runs from 17 to 23 June, highlighting the importance of attending the free screenings that are offered to 25 to 64-year-olds.

The latest NHS published figures show that three in 10 of those eligible for screening (25 to 64-year-olds) do not take up the potentially life-saving offer.

The uptake of screening in Blackburn with Darwen (63.1 per cent) and Blackpool (64.8 per cent), was significantly below the national average (68.7 per cent). In Cumbria and the Lancashire local authority area, the percentage of women who had received screenings was lower in 2023 than in 2022.

It is so important that people who are invited to attend a cervical screening take up the offer. Following a smear test, people will receive a letter explaining if human papillomavirus (HPV) was found, what the result means, and what happens next. Thankfully most people will not have HPV, which means the risk of getting cervical cancer is very low.

Dr Neil Smith, primary care director at Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance, said: “People who receive a cervical screening invite can contact their GP practice to arrange an appointment, while some sexual health clinics also offer screenings.

“Cervical screening is incredibly effective and can be vital in finding early abnormalities before there are even any signs of cancer.

“While cervical screening can be a little uncomfortable, the check only takes a few minutes and ultimately it could save your life.”

More information on NHS cervical screening and how to book an appointment is available on the NHS website (www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening).

Could you spot the symptoms of cervical cancer?

The symptoms include:

  • Vaginal bleeding that's unusual for you – including bleeding during or after sex, between your periods or after the menopause, or having heavier periods than usual
  • Changes to your vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain in your lower back, between your hip bones (pelvis), or in your lower tummy

If you have another condition like fibroids or endometriosis, you may get symptoms like these regularly.

Speak to your GP If you are concerned about any changes in your body.

Find out more at www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-cancer

Media release issued on behalf of Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board