Updated: Wednesday, 22nd November 2017 @ 5:30pm

NHS warn Manchester women against ignoring their right to smear tests, as 'Jade Goody effect' fades

NHS warn Manchester women against ignoring their right to smear tests, as 'Jade Goody effect' fades

By Jeremy Culley

Three years on and the Jade Goody effect is wearing off according to experts, with more Greater Manchester women snubbing smear test invitations.

Health chiefs are concerned that 1800 Rochdale women – 25 percent – ignored their right to a test last year.

Nationally, a YouGov poll, carried out on behalf of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust charity, found 31 percent of women between 50 and 70 did not know the test was necessary for women.

It also showed 51 percent of women in that age group believed cervical cancer was caused by having multiple sexual partners.

Dr Helen Lewis-Parmar, Consultant in Public Health at NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale, said: “Cervical screening takes minutes and could save your life. Screening helps prevent cancer by detecting early abnormalities to the cervix so they can be treated. If these abnormalities are left untreated they can lead to cancer of the cervix.

“And it’s thought that cervical screening helps save the lives of 5,000 women in England each year.”

A 28-year-old woman, who wished to remain anonymous, issued a warning after NHS regulations meant her recent smear test made her family suffer more than anyone.

“I was away on holiday and my mum was contacted by the doctors’ surgery because they couldn’t get hold of me,” she said.

“They told her issues had arisen from my recent smear test and that I should contact a nurse at the practice as soon as possible.

“My mum was obviously concerned and asked what the problem was but they wouldn’t tell her. Obviously, knowing what the tests are intended for, she was a nervous wreck until I got home.”

When she eventually came back from her holiday, she was told the test had revealed an abnormal cell structure.

This can either indicate the early forms of cancer or simply be a stage of the ageing process.

In this woman’s case, it was merely the latter but she bemoaned the unnecessary anguish the NHS had put her loved ones through.

Nevertheless, her experiences show how useful the system is in spotting cervical cancer at the earliest opportunity.  

Women in England and Wales aged between 25 and 64 are entitled to a cervical screening every three to five years.

Former reality TV star, Ms Goody died of cervical cancer aged 27 in 2009 and raised awareness of the importance of smear tests after her diagnosis.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week – running from January 21 – seeks to remind women that every day nine women are diagnosed and three women die of cervical cancer in the UK.

It is the second most common cancer in women under 35, after breast cancer.

Annually, more than 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK and around 1,000 of these will die.

However, the NHS claim 92 percent of sufferers who have smear tests survive, while only 66 percent survive after developing symptoms before diagnosis.

Dr Lewis-Parmar added: “As with all cancers, the earlier a problem is spotted, the better a patient’s outcome. You can bring a relative or friend with you and ask for a female nurse or GP to take the cervical screening sample.”

Picture courtesy of Keira76 via wiki commons, with thanks.

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