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Raising awareness of the need for cervical cancer screening

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There are around 3,200 cervical cancer cases in the UK every year. That’s more than eight every day.  UK Cervical Cancer – based in Norwich but with links across the world - campaigns to prevent suffering and death from cervical cancer and, in particular, by those who are disadvantaged and deprived.  

The Norfolk project 

The charity has started a dedicated project across Norfolk – and help is needed to raise awareness of the need to get screened, and especially now that the Covid-19 pandemic has focused health priorities away from serious illness and their treatments.  

Chief Executive Melvyn Hill says: “Our major challenge is raising awareness of the effects of cervical cancer and how it can be prevented. Across Norfolk there are approximately 50 cases arising each year, with around 15 deaths. With financial support from the National Lottery we aim to raise awareness of the disease by directly targeting those most at present and future risk.” 

The aim of the Norfolk project is to: 

  • encourage as many women as possible to receive regular cervical screening - prior to the pandemic about 25% of women in Norfolk missed their screening appointment 
  • educate schoolchildren and those responsible for them on the importance of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination to reduce the risk of cervical cancer - around 15% of children in Norfolk have not completed the full vaccination course 
  • access deprived and vulnerable groups of individuals who are at a greater risk of developing the disease, for example, refugees, lower socio-economic groups and individuals with mental and physical disabilities. 

 

Who needs to know – and who can help? 

“We are well aware of the fact that, in Norfolk, the majority of women have been screened along with the majority of years 8 and 9 children being vaccinated - so our objective is to get everyone screened or vaccinated, or reminded that this should take place at the appropriate time” explains Melvyn. 

“We want to work in partnership with GP practices, schools, and religious and ethnic community organisations to spread awareness of the need for vaccination, screening and testing. This is of even greater concern to us here at UK Cervical Cancer now, at the start of 2021, as Covid-19 has inevitably resulted in delays to screenings and vaccinations.” 

UK Cervical Cancer has prepared a helpful and easy-to-use range of material for use in this project. A schools presentation is available to help educate younger audiences about the Human Papillomavirus and its wider dangers. 

“GP surgeries are an important channel in getting the information out to registered patients, but we know that many women are not registered with their local surgery, and so we are asking Norfolk’s VCSE organisations and groups to help by disseminating this information to those potentially at risk, who they may be working with.” 

The key message is to encourage as many women as are eligible to contact their GP surgery to get tested.  

 

If you work within a VCSE organisation that has contact with service users eligible for screening, please raise awareness and, if you would like to work with UK Cervical Cancer in support of that aim, contact email [email protected] or call 07968 348184.  Visit UK Cervical Cancer to read more about their work and access their resources for targeted audiences.