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Don't take a chance with cancer

Doctors in Chorley and South Ribble are backing Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, and calling on local women to ensure they take part in regular screening.

This week is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (19 to 25 January), which aims to remind people that cervical cancer can kill, yet regular screening helps save thousands of lives every year.

Women in England and Wales aged between 25 and 64 years-old are invited to cervical screening, also known as a smear test, every three to five years.

Cervical screening is not a test for cancer. Screening prevents cancer by detecting early abnormalities in the cervix, so they can be treated. If these abnormalities are left untreated they can lead to cancer of the cervix (the neck of the womb). It’s thought on average that cervical screening helps save the lives of 4,500 women in England every year.

Approximately 3,000 women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK, and around 900 of these will die every year. It is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under. Despite this, more than 20 per cent of women invited for screening do not attend. Cervical screening can prevent around 45 per cent of cervical cancer cases in women in their 30s, rising with age to 75 per cent in women in their 50s and 60s, who attend regularly.

Research shows that both awareness of cervical cancer and uptake of screening are considerably lower amongst women from minority ethnic communities in comparison to the wider population.

Dr Gora Bangi, a GP at Leyland Surgery and Chair of NHS Chorley and South Ribble Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Having your cervical screening sample taken should only take matter of minutes. In the UK, GP’s and practice nurses take the majority of cervical screening samples.

“You can bring a relative or friend with you and you can request a female nurse or GP to take the sample. As with all cancers, the earlier a problem is spotted, the better the patient’s outcome. Screening saves lives, and we are committed to helping and encouraging all women to access this vital service.”

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