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Chairman of NHS Newham CCG Dr Zuhair Zarifa wants every local woman to attend cervical screening

PUBLISHED: 10:43 17 June 2015 | UPDATED: 10:43 17 June 2015

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June 15 to 21 is national Cervical Screening Awareness Week.

Seventy per cent of local woman do attend cervical screening every five years. However, I’d like to see every woman aged between 25 and 64 years of age regularly attending their cervical screening appointment.

Sadly around 750 women die of cervical cancer in England each year. 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 important, as it will detect any changes.

Cervical screening, also called smear tests, are a very good way to check the health of a woman’s cervix (the lower part of the womb). The test can pick up changes in cells that can be caused by many things.

It’s estimated that regular screening can help to prevent around 75 per cent of all cervical cancer cases.

Spotting the signs of cervical cancer early mean it can be stopped before it even gets started. However, many of those who develop it have not been screened regularly.

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

Many women I talk to say that they avoid cervical screening because they worry about what will happen ‘if something abnormal is found’.

Specialist NHS staff assess the risk of a person developing ovarian cancer and, if necessary, remove the problem cells in a simple procedure involving just a few hours in hospital.

The truth is that for most women where a change in their cervical cells is found, it won’t mean that they have ovarian cancer. And if it is cancer, it is always better to know sooner rather than later. Survival rates are improving year-on-year, but it is important to get treatment as early as possible.

If you are registered with a GP and aged between 25 and 64, you will automatically receive an invitation to attend a cervical smear test.

More from Dr Zarifa


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