THE battle to cut cases of cervical cancer is being stepped up in the Hartlepool area.
The disease can be fatal unless people make sure they are tested regularly so that it can be diagnosed early.
That’s why experts at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust are raising awareness of the potentially fatal disease.
Staff are helping promote Cervical Cancer Prevention Week which runs all this week until Sunday, January 26.
The week’s focus is on all things to do with this type of cancer, including information about symptoms and causes, and ways to prevent it.
The health authority has launched its campaign to support Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust which is promoting the initiative across the country.
The charity is running a campaign called Put yourself in the picture.
It asks women to upload a “selfie” style photo on a mobile phone app as their way of pledging to take up their invitation to have a cervical screening.
Staff in the trust are also putting the focus on encouraging more women to take up their invitation for cervical screening.
Callum Bowler, an advanced biomedical scientist practitioner in pathology at the trust, said: “This week is a fantastic way of raising awareness of cervical cancer among all women.
“National figures show that just under 3,000 women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer. Yet there are so many steps women can take to prevent it affecting them and it’s important that they know about these.
“A screening test can pick up any early signs of cancer before they have had time to spread and become far more serious.”
He said cervical cancer was caused by a “very common virus called human papillomavirus (HPV) and there was a vaccine available for younger women to protect them from it.
Mr Bowler added: “It’s important we can get this message out to as many people as possible who pass through our hospitals.
“For the whole of this week we are making information available across the trust, including leaflets that are available at main reception areas of both of our hospitals.”
An information stall is also being set up at the main entrance to the University Hospital of North Tees for both today and tomorrow.
Anyone wanting more information should visit www.jostrust.org.uk
l Symptoms of cervical cancer can include abnormal bleeding, pain during sex, vaginal bleeding after the menopause, and pain in the pelvis.