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Newham doctors urge borough’s women to attend smear tests

11:46 21 January 2014

Dr Zuhair Zarifa is urging Newham women to make an appointment once they are invited to attend for a smear test

Dr Zuhair Zarifa is urging Newham women to make an appointment once they are invited to attend for a smear test

Archant

Newham women aged between 25 and 64, invited to attend a potentially life saving smear test, are being urged to make an appointment.

To coincide with Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, which runs from 19 – 25 January 2014, GPs in Newham are calling on women to attend a cervical screening test.

In England, women aged between 25 and 64 are eligible for a free NHS cervical screening every three to five years. This screening, also known as a smear test, detects changes in the cells around the cervix.

The symptoms of cervical cancer aren’t always obvious, and it may not cause any symptoms at all until an advanced stage. That’s why regular screening is so important, as it will detect any changes. It’s estimated that regular screening tests can help to prevent around 75 per cent of all cervical cancer cases. Despite this, around 20 per cent of women do not take up their invitation.

Women need to be registered with a GP to receive a cervical screening invitation.

Dr Zuhair Zarifa, chair of Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and a GP, said: “Every year, nearly 3000 women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and detecting it early can save your life. That’s why it’s so important that women make an appointment with their GP when they receive their screening invitation. Alternatively, screening can also be carried out by a nurse at sexual health clinics across Newham.

“Although cervical cancer often has no noticeable symptoms, there are some symptoms that can indicate any problems. If you’re experiencing unusual vaginal bleeding, abnormal discharge, discomfort during sex or lower back pain, this should be investigated by your GP.

“These symptoms can have a range of causes, so it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer, but the sooner you see someone and a diagnosis is made, the better the chance of treatment being successful.

“We recognise that it can be an embarrassing subject, but if you’re worried about your health or if you’re due to attend a cervical smear test, make an appointment with your local GP sooner rather than later.”

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