Protecting against cervical cancer

NHS Tayside is reminding women and girls about the importance of protecting themselves from cervical cancer during Cervical Screening Awareness Week (June 10-17).

NHS Tayside is urging eligible women of all ages to continue to take up the offer of a smear test every three years as ignoring the invitation can leave women unprotected from the early signs of cervical cancer.

Women aged between 20 and 60, who are or have been sexually active, can get a smear done at their local doctor’s surgery, family planning or well woman clinic and it is just as important for younger as well as older women to have the tests regularly.

Many young women will have received the HPV Immunisation which helps protect against the virus which can cause cervical cancer but it is vital these women also attend their cervical screening appointments to provide ongoing protection.

Around 100 women in Scotland die each year from cervical cancer, with 300 cases being diagnosed annually.

NHS Tayside screening co-ordinator Dr Julie Cavanagh said, “Cervical screening and the vaccine will together offer women the best protection available against cervical cancer. There are over 300 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed every year in Scotland. By offering the HPV immunisation to girls, we hope to reduce the risk of them contracting this life-threatening disease later in life, and we would encourage all eligible girls to take up the offer of this vaccine.

“It is equally important that all women between 20 and 60 years old, who have ever been sexually active, should have a smear test every three years in order to check for cervical changes, which can then be treated before any cancer develops.”