PHE Cervical Cancer Screening Campaign to Launch Next Month
The NHS Cervical Screening Programme has made a positive impact to cervical cancer mortality since its introduction in 1988, saving around 5,000 lives each and every year. However, coverage is currently at a 20-year low. Data published in NHS Digital show that, at 31 March 2018, the percentage of eligible women - 25 to 64 year olds - screened adequately was just 71.4%. Therefore, next month Public Health England (PHE) will launch its first national multimedia cervical screening campaign and hope to tackle the issue of low screening rates. Aims of the new campaign are to:
- Explain the risks of cervical cancer.
- Show the preventative benefits of the often misunderstood screening test.
- Urge all women to respond to their screening invitation.
- Urge women to consider booking an appointment if they have missed previous invitations.
- Address issues of fear and embarrassment.
- Lack of knowledge about cervical cancer and the purpose of cervical screening.
- Embarrassment about having the test.
- Fear of pain.
- Fear of a positive diagnosis from the test.
Important changes by PHEPHE recognise that cervical screening is evolving and have made numerous efforts to modernise their approach, such as:
- The introduction of the HPV primary screening test.
- Pilots to trial text messaging reminders
- The possibility of using a home-based self-sample, which is being considered in a UK National Screening Committee consultation