Cervical Cancer Prevention Week runs between 22nd – 28th January. The theme for 2018 is to reduce your risk. Over 3000 women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK, with around 800 deaths as a result of cervical cancer. Most cervical cancers are caused by a sexually transmitted infections called HPV.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the womans cervix; also known as the entrance to the womb from the vagina. In the early stages cancer of the cervix will typically show no obvious symptoms. However when symptoms do occur they will typically be vaginal bleeding and this will usually occur after sex, during periods or after the menopause.
Unlike other cancers that can strike anyone at any given time, cervical cancer appears to be a younger woman’s disease. 40 is usually the peak age of diagnosis, but it is also very preventable. Regular cervical screening will help you to protect yourself against cervical cancer.
Reduce Your Risk of Cervical Cancer with Screening
The NHS set up the Cervical Screening Programme to reduce the number of women who develop cervical cancer. Introduced in the 1980s, the number of cervical cancer cases has decreased by about 7% year on year, but it has slowed down in recent years. Whilst a programme is in place, women can also have private cervical screening. Women will be invited for cervical screening when:
- Women aged 25 to 49, will be invited for cervical screening every 3 years
- Women ages 50 to 64, will be invited for cervical screening every 5 years
- Only women over the age of 65, who haven’t been screening since the age of 50 or those who have recently had abnormal test will be invited for cervical screening
What You Can Do
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is designed to promote to women how they can reduce their risk of cervical cancer. Women can take the following health steps to reduce their risk of the disease:
- Attend cervical screening when you’re invited
- Know the symptoms of the disease and see a professional if you experience any
- Women aged between 12-18 should have the HPV vaccination
- Spread the cervical screening message to friends and family
- Know places to go for support and further information
HPV & The Treatment Available
Whilst condoms are a good protection against most types of STDs, HPV is different, and it can be spread through skin to skin contact. It’s estimated that around 80% of sexually active people will have it at some point in their lives and most won’t know they have it and it’s likely you’ll suffer from no issues whatsoever. Why take the risk when there’s ways to prevent it?
Girls from the age of 12 up to the age of 18, can get the HPV vaccine on the NHS. The vaccine help to protect against cervical cancer. The vaccine is effective at stopping girls getting the types of HPV that cause most cases of cervical cancer.
What To Do Next?
Here at Broadgate GP, we offer private HPV testing, vaccines and cervical screening. Private appointments mean you can have them carried out on a day and at a time that suits you. We provide fast access to results and will provide the appropriate referrals and ongoing support where required. If you’ve been putting cervical screening off or you’re worried you might have HPV, then be sure to book an appointment at Broadgate GP today!