A campaign to increase uptake of cervical screening will run until mid-March across England, including TV advertising, video on demand and social media. The Help Us Help You – Cervical Screening Saves Lives campaign will also include activity targeted to ethnic minority (black and South Asian) and LGBTQ+ communities, as data show these groups can experience specific barriers to accessing screening.
Latest figures show that nearly a third (30%) of eligible individuals aged between 25 and 64 were not screened (NHS Digital, 2021). Around 2700 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year and approximately 690 women die from the disease.
A Department of Health and Social Care-commissioned survey showed a number of concerns which prevent attendance at cervical screening. The survey showed that embarrassment was the most common reason for never having attended or missing an appointment (stated by 42% of respondents), followed by those who ‘kept putting it off’ (34%) and ‘being worried it would be painful’ (28%). Fifteen per cent of lesbian or bisexual women over 25 had never had a smear test, compared to 7% of women over 25 in general.
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