Family doctors and nurses are urging women in Berwick to take up their invitation to take part in the national cervical screening programme.
Women aged 25 to 49 are invited for a cervical screening test from their GP every three years, and those aged 50 – 64 every five years.
Mandy Thompson, senior practice nurse at Well Close Medical Group, said: “Many of us are busy working mums and we find it hard to find 15 minutes for ourselves but I can’t emphasis enough how important it is to respond to your invitation to be screened and find that time to come.”
Cervical cancer is the 11th most common cancer among women in the UK, and the most common cancer in women under 35.
Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, it’s a method of preventing cancer by detecting and treating early abnormalities which, if left untreated, could in a few cases lead to cancer in a woman’s cervix (the neck of the womb).
Mandy continued: “If you have any questions or concerns about how the testing is carried out then simply ring your GP practice nurse who would be very happy indeed to talk to you about it and arrange for you to come and have your appointment.”
Hilary Brown, managing partner for Well Close medical group, and North locality director and director for end of life care, cancer and carers for NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group, explained that cancer screening is a process of identifying people who may be at increased risk of a disease but who have not developed any obvious signs and symptoms and the main benefit is to detect early stages of a disease so that patients can then be offered information, further tests and appropriate treatment.
Hilary said: “The Be Clear on Cancer message is a strong one, finding cancer early enough, makes it more treatable and can save your life – don’t put off a simple test that will take just 15 minutes at your GP practice and could give you the rest of your life.”
Between 2008 and 2009 incidence rates increased by more than 20 per cent in the 25 to 34 age range (22 per cent for women aged 25-29 and 21 per cent for those aged 30-34).