- New campaign to debunk myths about cervical cancer and screening launches
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Great British Bake Off star Laura Adlington is fronting a new cervical cancer campaign with This Morning’s Dr Nighat Arif to encourage younger Londoners to attend an NHS cervical screening appointment when invited.
Cervical screening is offered to women and all people with a cervix, between the ages of 25 to 64, and helps prevent cervical cancer by checking for human papillomavirus (HPV.)
The four NHS Cancer Alliances in London and charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust – who launched the campaign on 22 January – say that only 60% of 25 to 49-year-olds living in London currently attend screening. The attendance is significantly higher for 50 to 64-year-olds living in London at 72%. (Source: NHS Digital).
Although HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer, it is important to note that most cases of the virus do not result in a cancer diagnosis. However, there are certain types of the virus that can cause abnormal cells to develop in the cervix, which can turn into cancer if left untreated.
The campaign coincides with Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (22-28 January) and aims to debunk common misconceptions about cervical cancer and screening.
It is often wrongly assumed that never having penetrative sex or having one sexual partner means you are not at risk of developing cervical cancer and exempt from screening. However, the virus can also be passed from skin-to-skin contact of the genital area, not just from penetrative sex, and can also stay in the body for a long time.
Laura Adlington and Dr Arif will star in a series of videos where they will be discussing the link between sex and cervical cancer and tackling common misconceptions about cervical screening. Shorter versions of the videos are streaming on the popular dating site Tinder and across social media (Instagram, TikTok and Snap Chat) from 22 January.
Dr Nighat Arif said: “Cervical screening is the single most accurate way to detect HPV and very early cell changes at the cervix. Please attend your screening appointment when invited.”
Ali Malik, Director of the North Central London Cancer Alliance, said: “For us this is a great new way to reach people who are not booking their cervical screening appointments. We really need to see the rates for cervical screening rise in North Central London. We understand it can sometimes be difficult for a variety of reasons including work and childcare commitments, anxiety, and misinformation surrounding the test. But these tests are vital – they can prevent cancer.
“By joining forces with the three other London Cancer Alliances and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust we aim to reach as many Londoners as possible. Using this light-hearted approach, we hope people will feel informed about why attending screening is important and feel empowered to ask for support ahead of and during their appointment.”
Attending screening is the best way of preventing cervical cancer, which is why it’s important that you book an appointment when invited. To find out more about cervical screening and how to book your appointment, visit https://www.cervicalcancerpreventionweek.com/