This week, Stuart McMillan MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde is joining Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust in raising awareness about how women can reduce their risk of cervical cancer.
In the UK, over 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year – yet it is one of the only cancers that is preventable.
Cervical screening (smear tests) are the best protection against the disease, followed by the HPV vaccine offered in schools. Yet cervical screening uptake is at an all-time low.
Last year, cervical screening uptake in Scotland fell from 73.4% to 72.8% – meaning more than one in four eligible women missed their screen test.
This week Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has published new research, which has found young women who delay or don’t go for cervical screening feel scared (71%), vulnerable (75%) and embarrassed (81%) at the thought of going. A worrying two-thirds (67%) say they would not feel in control at the prospect of a test.
Commenting, the local MSP said:
“I am delighted to be working with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. Cervical screening prevents up to 75% of cervical cancers developing, so it is worrying to hear that so many women are not attending this test when invited, particularly due to embarrassment.
“I would ask every woman who is invited for a screening to remember that a few, potentially uncomfortable, minutes of your time, is nothing compared to what it would be like to be diagnosed with cancer. Please do not delay – your nurse is there to talk you through the process and will do whatever they can to make it as easy as possible. A smear test could save your life.”
Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said:
“We are delighted to have Stuart McMillan MSP’s support to help raise awareness about the importance of cervical screening. Smear tests provide the best protection against cervical cancer yet we know they aren’t always easy. We want women to feel comfortable talking to their nurse and asking questions. It’s not making a fuss and there are many ways to make the test easier. Please don’t let your fears stop you booking a test.”
Stuart McMillan supported MSP Monica Lennon’s motion regarding cervical screening uptake statistics in Scotland, and was present for her member’s debate on the subject on Tuesday 22 January 2019.