Hospitals to support Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

Smear for Smear
Hospitals to support Cervical Cancer Prevention Week
17 January 2019

Specialist nurses at The Royal Oldham Hospital and North Manchester General Hospital are supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (21 – 27 January 2019) in an effort to raise awareness of the disease and to promote the importance of cervical screening among staff, patients and visitors.

Every day in the UK nine women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and two women will lose their life to the disease.  It is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under, but 75% of cervical cancers can be prevented by cervical screening (smear tests).

Latest statistics show that attendance of cervical screening in England is now at its lowest rate for 21 years, with only 71.4% of women having a smear test.

Experts have put the decline down to women being embarrassed by the procedure.  A survey of over 2000 women by the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust suggested that women were embarrassed to attend because of their body shape (35%), the appearance of their vulva (34%) and concerns over odour (38%).  Alarmingly, 15% said that they would miss their smear test for a gym class or a waxing appointment.

A cervical screening test is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix.  Detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells can prevent cervical cancer.

All women over the age of 25, who are registered with a GP, are invited for cervical screening.  For those aged between 25 and 49, this is every three years, and for those aged between 50 and 64, it is every five years. 

An information stand will be available at The Royal Oldham Hospital on the main hospital corridor, facing the glass entrance tunnel, on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 January. Staff will be available between 10am and 2pm on these days to hand out information leaflets on cervical cancer, cervical screening and the HPV vaccine. 

Information leaflets on cervical cancer, cervical screening and the HPV vaccine will also be available from the Macmillan Cancer Information Centre at North Manchester General Hospital during the awareness week.  The centre will be open Monday to Friday, from 9am until 4pm. If anyone would like further information or support, contact the centre staff on 0161 604 5244, or drop in.

Amanda Storey, gynaecology Macmillan nurse at the hospitals, said: “The Macmillan team is aiming to ensure that any women they meet understand how cervical cancer can be prevented.  The aim is not to scare women, but to promote the idea that smears can detect pre-cancerous conditions, which if left untreated, can turn into cancer.

“This means encouraging women to attend for their smear tests, and seeking medical advice if they are experiencing any symptoms of cervical cancer.”

Signs and symptoms of cervical cancer include:

  • Abnormal bleeding during sexual intercourse, or between periods
  • Post menopausal bleeding (vaginal bleeding that happens after the menopause)
  • Unusual or unpleasant discharge
  • Discomfort or pain during sex
  • Lower back pain

Amanda added: “Jo’s Trust are encouraging women to share the message about the importance of having a smear test by taking a selfie of them smearing their lipstick and sharing it at #SmearForSmear”

Amanda is pictured (left) with her gynacology Macmillan nurse specialist colleagues Tracey Dixon and Julie Dale.  All the ladies have smeared their lipstick!