Cervical screening test no-shows prompt cancer charity to act with ads

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Buses all over Leeds will sport advertising urging women to have regular cervical screening tests, after it emerged one in five Leeds women failed to turn up to appointments last year.

The campaign has been launched by the UK’s only dedicated cervical cancer charity, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, to coincide with Cervical Screening Awareness Week from June 15 to 21.

Leeds was chosen as one of four focus cities to host special advertising until July 5, after NHS statistics revealed that screening uptake in Leeds has fallen for a second year in a row.

Across all age groups 21.6 per cent of Leeds women failed to attend their screening in 2013-14 compared to 20.5 per cent in 2012-13 and 20.3 per cent the year prior.

Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “One in five women in Leeds failed to attend screening last year.

“It’s time that we see a shift in awareness of the importance of screening across women of all ages and until a woman is no longer invited.”

In Leeds the highest proportion of missed appointments was seen in the 60 to 64 age group, with 27 per cent failing to show up compared to 16.8 per cent of women aged 50 to 54.

The UK’s national screening programme saves around 5,000 lives a year by inviting women aged 25 to 49 once every three years, while women aged 50 to 64 are invited once every five years. Around 3,000 UK women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year.

NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group is putting on extra screening appointments at Hyde Park Surgery, Craven Road Medical Practice, Burley Park Medical Centre and Leeds Student Medical Practice all this week.

Visit www.jostrust.org.uk for further information.