01 Apr Uptake in cervical cancer screening increases across Essex despite COVID-19
In the past year, more Essex women have been screened for cervical cancer than ever before.
Despite the ongoing impact of COVID-19, GP practice staff have been working hard to deliver additional screening sessions, making extra effort to reach out and encourage more women to attend their appointment.
Screening levels across all age groups have increased, especially within the 50-64 age group. Nearly all GP practices across mid and south Essex have surpassed the national 80% screening target for women in this age group due their smear test. Some practices have had up to 99% uptake in screening levels.
Dr Mark Metcalfe, local GP and Macmillan GP lead, said: ‘It really is fantastic to see women over 50 turning up for their appointment at levels not seen before.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to attend your appointment when you receive an invitation. Sadly, nine women are still diagnosed with cervical cancer a day. Early diagnosis will lead to faster treatment and better outcomes. Attending your regular cancer screening when recalled by your GP is vitally important to pick up any abnormalities.
We understand for some women getting a smear test is embarrassing and they can also feel unsure and fearful about what happens during an appointment. Therefore, we have created a video to help people understand what happens at a screening appointment.’
You can watch this here:
The screening regime differs across age groups, with 24 – 49 needing to attend a screening every three and a half years, whereas for those over 49 it is every five and a half years.
The test has changed in recent years as they now test for the presence of the HPV virus at the initial screening, which if negative, means there is no further action needed.