Around 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK each year. About 2 out of every 100 cancers diagnosed in women (2%) are cervical cancers.

Cervical cancer is more common in younger women. More than half of the cervical cancer cases in the UK each year are diagnosed in women aged 45 or under.

Screening means testing people for early stages of an illness before they have any symptoms. For screening to be useful the tests:

  • must be reliable at picking up the illness
  • must be simple and quick
  • overall must do more good than harm to people taking part

Cancer screening involves testing apparently healthy people for signs that could show that a cancer is starting to develop. 

Cervical screening is a way of preventing cancer by finding and treating early changes in the neck of the womb (cervix). These changes could lead to cancer if left untreated. 

The screening uses a test called cytology, which many people know as the smear test. A nurse or doctor takes a sample of cells from the cervix with a small brush. They send the sample to a laboratory to be checked for abnormalities. In some cases, samples are also tested for a virus called human papilloma virus (HPV) that increases the risk of cervical cancer.

The NHS cervical screening programme invites women from ages 25 to 64 for cervical screening. Women aged 25 to 49 are invited every 3 years. After that, women are invited every 5 years until the age of 64. HIV+ patients are invited to attend annually.

Despite the obvious benefits of cervical screening, many women still choose not to have this test.  We need to understand the reasons behind this so that we can come up with ways of  encouraging woman to have it.

The Leicester Clinical Commissioning  Group are therefore looking for people to help them to design and review appropriate materials which will educate women (and men) on what a smear test involves and help encourage women to attend their GP practice for a smear test.

They will be holding a workshop on Friday 19th  May,  in the Conference Room, 8th Floor, St John’s House, East Street, Leicester, LE1 6NB, between 10.00am and 12 noon, to discuss ideas so that they can produce something which will encourage more women to take the test.

Being a multi-cultural city, we are particularly interested in hearing from people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures who may be able to help us with this exercise. You also don’t have to be this age to take part; anyone who would like to be involved will be most welcome.

If you or your service users are interested in coming to the workshop, please call Jo Ryder on 0116 2951123 to leave your name and telephone number or email to reserve a space. Refreshments will be included. Please let them know of any access requirements which may help you to attend.