Increase in numbers of young British women being diagnosed with cervical cancer

Increase in numbers of young British women being diagnosed with cervical cancer

The number of young women diagnosed with cervical cancer has risen by up to 5 per cent in a single year, according to new data. A report by the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust says that incidence of the illness is up by 4.8 per cent in women aged 25 to 29, compared to last year. When viewed over the previous decade, this rises to 59.2 per cent.


Figures from the ONS show the number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer under 35 has risen by 3.98 per cent in one year (33.1 per cent over 10 years). According to the charity, the increase in incidence can be attributed to falling numbers of young women having cervical cancer smear tests. Across the UK, more than one in five invited to be screened don’t attend – one million women a year.


Among 25 to 29-year-olds that figure rises to one in three. Currently 33.7 per cent of 25 to 29 year-olds in and 22.3 per cent of 30 to 34 year-olds in the UK aren’t being screened. The simple test can be carried out by practice nurses in local GP surgeries.


Every year in the UK, 300,000 women are diagnosed with cervical abnormalities. Nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and three lose their lives, every single day. Cervical screening saves around 5,000 lives a year. But the Jo’s Trust research found that 20 per cent of young women see smear tests as unnecessary. Other reasons given for not attending were concerns about pain (26.2 per cent) and embarrassment (26.6 per cent).


Of the younger women surveyed (aged 25 to 29) more than half didn’t know the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) caused the disease by altering the cervical cells. One in ten thought smears tested for sexually transmitted infections and 13.5 per cent thought it was for ovarian cancer. Forty-eight per cent said they never openly discuss smear tests with friends or family.


Jo’s Trust is running Cervical Cancer Prevention Week from January 25 to 31 to raise awareness of the disease and highlight the importance of screenings. The charity has launched a social media campaign, #SmearForSmear, which aims to draw attention to the importance of smear tests by asking users to ‘smear’ their lipstick across their faces and share the resulting pictures.


In England, Wales and Northern Ireland all women between the ages of 25 and 64 are eligible for cervical screening. In Scotland screening is currently between the ages of 20 and 60, and will be raised to 64 from April 1, 2016.


Robert Music, Chief Executive for Jo’s Trust said: “Every day we see the devastating impact a cervical cancer diagnosis can have on both a woman and her loved ones. But to know that for those that delayed their screening before diagnosis, this could have been prevented, is tragic. It’s now time that we see an upward shift in awareness of cervical cancer and an understanding of the importance of smear tests.


“We hope the public get fully behind this fun and simple campaign. The more women who take this life saving five minute test, the fewer who will face infertility, early menopause, more extensive long term effects and potentially even loss of life. It’s time we all acted as it may just save a life.”


#SmearForSmear: How to take part

1. Apply your lipstick, smear it across your cheek and take a photo

2. Tag #SmearForSmear and @JoTrust in your message.

3. Add the names of the people you want to nominate

Example tweet: Help prevent cervical cancer w/ @JoTrust. Attend your smear, reduce your risk. Join me @xxxx #SmearForSmear

4. Post onto Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

For more information go to the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website or call their helpline (0808 802 8000).


 

 

By Claire Cohen,


The Telegraph, Monday 26 January 2015




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