Women are being urged to undergo regular cervical screening to reduce their risk of developing cancer.
Public health chiefs in Hartlepool have spoken out to mark Cervical Cancer Prevention Week this week and as part of an on-going sexual health awareness campaign.
Cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer in women aged 35 and under, but while 75% of cervical cancers can be prevented by screening one in four women do not undergo the potentially life-saving test.
Deborah Clark, health improvement practitioner (children, young people/sexual health) at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Screening, more commonly known as a smear test, is one of the best ways a woman can reduce her risk of cervical cancer but with test attendance falling amongst both younger and older women we feel that it has never been more vital to emphasise the importance of screening.”
Staff at the council have embraced the #smearforsmear social media campaign of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, where people share images of themselves with lipstick smeared across their faces.
Cervical screening is provided free by the NHS to women aged 25-64, with women aged 25-49 invited every three years and those aged 50-64 invited every five years. To be invited for a test a woman needs to be registered with a GP who has an up-to-date record of her address. Any woman not registered with a GP can also undergo screening via the Teesside Sexual Health Service. which is based at the One Life Centre on Park Road, Hartlepool.
Appointments can be booked online 24/7 or by calling 0300 3301122.