Drop-in event aims to dispel myths around vital cervical screening test
Albion in the Community (AITC) is holding a friendly drop-in event aimed at anyone who is eligible for NHS cervical screening and would like to know more about what is involved.
Research shows that one in five people in Brighton and Hove who are eligible for the potentially lifesaving NHS test did not attend their last screening because they simply forgot to make an appointment.
Every year in the UK around 3,000 people will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and it is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under.
Nationally cervical screening is estimated to save around 5,000 lives in England each year but in a recent survey by AITC, one in five respondents in Brighton and Hove said they were worried about being uncomfortable or in pain during the test. One in eight said they were too embarrassed to attend, while a fifth of people said that simply having more information about the screening procedure and why it is needed would make them more likely to attend in future.
With that last statistic in mind, AITC’s Speak Up Against Cancer team has organised a Behind the Screen event at St Peter’s Medical Practice, just off London Road, from 10am until 1pm on Saturday 17 February.
The drop-in session will give people the chance to find out more about the process of cervical screening and why it is so important.
NHS nurses will work alongside AITC’s Speak Up Against Cancer team, showing visitors the equipment used, dispelling any myths about cervical screening and discussing what can be done to make the experience easier. There will also be a volunteer from Survivors Network available to support survivors of sexual violence and abuse.
And anyone who is registered with a GP anywhere in Sussex and who is overdue their screening can have it done by one of the practice nurses that will be available on the day.
There will also be free refreshments and giveaways, including cosmetics from Lush.
All women aged 25-64 are invited for regular screening of their cervix, also known as a smear test, as long as they are registered with a GP. Trans men with a cervix are also invited for screening if they are registered as female with their GP. If they are registered as male but have a cervix, they should still have a screening, and are encouraged to contact their GP to arrange a test.
Sue Brown, cancer prevention coordinator at AITC said she hoped people would take up the opportunity to bust some of the myths that surround cervical screening. She said: “The cervical screening rate in Brighton and Hove is the lowest in the south east. Our Behind the Screen event will provide a friendly and relaxing environment in which people can discuss any concerns they have about the realities of attending a cervical screening test or find out more about what it involves.
“The aim is to help more people feel confident to take up this potentially life-saving test. If your cervical screening is overdue or you have put it off for any reason, come along and say hello.”
For more information on the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer – and on what to expect from a cervical screening test – visit: www.speakupagainstcancer.org.