Cervical cancer screenings (smear tests) save lives.
Less than 1 in 3 eligible females with a learning disability had theirs during 2015-16.
Recent data collected from over half of GP practices in England in 2014-15 and 2015-16, to identify potential differences in the treatment, health status, and outcomes of people with learning disabilities compared with the rest of the population, found that very few women with a learning disability attend cervical screening, far less than other women, even though it can save their life. In fact, people with learning disabilities are 45% less likely to be screened for cancer compared to their counterparts without learning disabilities.
There are lots of reasons why; fear, embarrassment, not knowing enough about the test, and some carers and health care professionals think women with learning disabilities do not need one. Do not let these reasons get in the way and hear why cervical screening is so important from real women of all ages.
Attending a smear test when invited can save your life or your loved ones life. Do not let embarrassment get in the way and find out more about the test by reading the having a smear test leaflet, the easy guide to cervical screening or watch the smear test film.
Every day 9 women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 3 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 (also known as the Smear Test) and the HPV vaccination programme.
The number of women dying from cervical cancer has halved over the past 28 years as a result of the NHS screening programme as well as improvement in treatment. When diagnosed at its earliest stage, around 95% of women with cervical cancer will survive their disease for five years or more, compared with 5 in 100 of women when diagnosed at the latest stage.
NHS England's Screening and Immunisation teams work with GP practices to increase awareness and are supporting Cervical Cancer Awareness Week. NHS England has signed up to the Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust 'Time to Test' pledge demonstrating commitment to raising awareness of cervical cancer prevention in the workplace and ensuring female employees can access cervical screening. The pledge states:
The health of our employees comes first and if employees cannot make appointments out of
working hours, we will find a way to make sure they can attend cervical screening, even if it means doing so during their working day.