Help raise awareness of cervical cancer by supporting the #SmearForSmear campaign
Healthcare professionals across south east London are urging women to go to their smear test appointments when invited to combat a decline in attendance.
The call comes as people across the country prepare to show their support for the annual #SmearForSmear campaign during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (22-28 January 2018).
Nationally, there are concerns about the decline in the number of women attending screening appointments. In Lewisham, 77% of eligible women aged between 50 and 64 attended their smear test when invited to do so. This falls short of the national target of 80%.
The number of women aged between 25-49 years old who attend screenings has also declined, with a stark variation in the numbers across south east London. Take up of smear tests in Lewisham is just 66% amongst young women who have been invited to attend. With cervical cancer being the most common cancer in women under the age of 35, raising awareness of cervical screening across Lewisham is vital.
Dr Esther Appleby, Lewisham GP, said: "Every year there are more than 3,000 new cases of cervical cancer and nearly 900 hundreds deaths in the UK. This is a tragedy given that it is preventable.
"Although a cervical smear test can be a bit uncomfortable, it can detect changes that could develop into cancer if left. If you're nervous about having it done you could speak to your GP or practice nurse or take someone with you. Please have it done if it's due – it could save your life!"
The #SmearForSmear campaign is run by Jo's Trust, the UK's only dedicated cervical cancer charity. It aims to raise awareness of the importance of smear tests (cervical screening), with 1 in 4 women failing to attend screenings when invited, whilst 9 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every day.
Help us to raise awareness by getting involved and sharing your #SmearForSmear picture on social media. All you have to do is apply some lipstick, smear it across your cheek and take a picture. You can then share your picture on social media using the hashtag #SmearforSmear.