NHS Tayside supports Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

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NHS Tayside is supporting national Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (21-27 January) with a call for women to attend for screening.

Cervical cancer affects almost 1 in 100 women and Tayside has the highest incidence of cervical cancer in Scotland.  In terms of cervical screening uptake, Tayside is amongst the lowest five health boards.

Cervical screening saves around 5,000 lives in the UK every year and prevents 8 out of 10 cervical cancers from developing.  In Scotland, all women between the ages of 25 and 50 are offered a cervical screening test every three years and those between 50 and 65 are offered screening every five years.

Lead colposcopist Dr Kalpana Ragupathy said, “An abnormal smear does not mean cancer. It means a surface change in the cells in the cervix that could maybe turn into cancer if left untreated.

“Precancerous changes precede cervical cancer by 10-15 years. Regular smear tests pick up these changes and treatment reduces the risk of cervical cancer by 95%.”

Gynae cancer lead Dr Wendy McMullen added, “Surface changes that need treating can almost always be treated in the clinic, either at the first or second visit. The examination takes about five minutes and the treatment, if needed, about another five to 10 minutes. Nearly all women leave the clinic saying the examination and treatment is slightly uncomfortable but not nearly as bad as they thought.

“We realise that some women have particular difficulties with examination but it is so important that these women come for their smear tests and follow up. It is so sad to see women having life changing treatment for a cancer that could have been prevented by a five minute smear test and a half hour visit to the clinic. Please put it on your list for 2019.”

Want to know more about your smears?

  • Talk to your nurse or GP
  • Like our cervical screening page at facebook.com/beclearhaveyoursmear
  • Visit nhsinform.scot or call 0800 224488 (textphone 18001 0800 22 44 88). The helpline is open every day 8am-10pm and also provides an interpreting service.
  • Visit Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust on social media, at jostrust.org.uk or call 0808 802800
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l-r Dr Wendy McMullen, Dr Kalpana Ragupathy and colposcopist Elaine Coupar


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