The Herald & Gazette have joined forces with GP practices in the area which form part of the NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). This week they are urging young women to attend cervical screening.
Every day nine women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer and three women will lose their lives to the disease.
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35 but is largely preventable thanks to cervical screening and the HPV vaccination programme.
This week, as the country marks European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, health professionals across Coastal West Sussex are urging women to make sure they attend cervical screening.
Screening is offered to all women aged 25 to 64 years old, with women aged 25 to 49 screened three yearly and women aged 50 to 64 screened every five years.
But, the latest figures show that the number of women aged 25-29 years of age being screened for cervical cancer is the lowest in any age group and numbers attending for screening are falling year on year.
Surveys undertaken by cancer charities indicate embarrassment and a lack of understanding of the causes of cervical cancer may be behind the fall in numbers attending.
Importantly though the number of women dying from cervical cancer has halved over the past 27 years as a result of the NHS screening programme as well as improvement in treatment.
Despite this success over 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.
The majority of women diagnosed with cervical cancer have delayed coming forward for screening which has impacted on their ability to have early changes treated.
European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week aims to raise awareness of the importance of cervical screening and its role in preventing cancer, as well as encouraging women to go for their screening test when invited.
95 per cent of results will be normal and of those that are not, the vast majority can be treated very easily and will never develop in to cancer.
Find out more about the screening test: www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cervical-screening-test/Pages/Introduction.aspx
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