Health & Fitness Lanarkshire women encouraged not to ignore cervical screening invite
Cervical Cancer Rates Are Down By 87% Thanks To The HPV Vaccine – But Will This Proof That Vaccines Save Lives Sway Anti-Vaxxers?
The research is the first proof that the HPV vaccine, given to 12- and 13-year-old girls over a decade ago, is actually saving our lives now.According to the Cancer Research UK-funded study, published in The Lancet this morning, the HPV vaccine has stopped thousands of women from developing cervical cancer and experiencing pre-cancerous changes to cells. HPV (human papillomavirus) is the virus that causes cervical cancer. Right now in the UK, around 3,200 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year.
Lanarkshire women are being encouraged not to ignore their cervical screening invite, as a drive gets underway to highlight the importance of the test, which screens for the human papillomavirus virus (HPV).
To mark Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, which runs until January 23, healthcare professionals across Scotland have reinforced that the smear test now offered is more sensitive, screening for HPV – the main cause of cervical cancer - to help ensure any cell changes are identified and treated earlier.
As the test is more effective, those who are found to have HPV will be invited for screening every year, so any cell changes can be closely monitored, and referred for further investigation and treatment if needed.
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Those whose test sample shows no signs of HPV will be invited for their screening appointment in five years, as evidence shows the chance of developing cervical cancer during this time is very low.
Scotland introduced five year cervical screening testing for women aged between 25-49 years with no HPV in March 2020, at the same time as HPV testing was introduced into the cervical screening programme.
Celia Briffa-Watt, NHS Lanarkshire consultant in public health, said: “Even if everything feels fine, it’s important not to ignore your smear test invite as it can stop cervical cancer before it starts.
“HPV testing, which is carried out as part of your smear test, is much more effective and sensitive, helping identify those at higher risk of cervical cancer much quicker.
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“It takes a long time for HPV to develop into cervical cancer, so it’s very rare for a woman who doesn’t have HPV to develop cervical cancer within five years.
“If HPV is found as part of your smear, please try not to worry. HPV is very common, and you’ll be invited back every year to monitor any cell changes, before they could potentially develop into cervical cancer.
“It’s understandable to feel anxious about the smear test itself, but the five minute test is the best way of preventing cervical cancer, so please don’t put it off.”
For more information on cervical screening, visit nhsinform.scot/cervicalscreening and for information on HPV, visit www.jostrust.org.uk/hpv
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