Talking point: Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.
PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

The theme for Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2018 is “Reduce your risk”.

Cervical cancer can be prevented. With your help we can ensure every woman knows how they can reduce their risk of the disease and the steps they can take to look after their health.

This means attending cervical screening when invited, knowing the symptoms of cervical cancer and seeking medical advice if experiencing any, taking up the HPV vaccination if aged 11 to 18, talking to friends and family to ensure they know how they can reduce their risk and knowing where to find support and information.

The awareness week, which runs from January 22 to 28, is run by Jo’s Trust, a charity established in 1999 by James Maxwell, after his wife Jo passed away from cervical cancer.

It was Jo’s wish that every woman affected by cervical cancer should get the support and information they needed.

It now has more than 20 full-time members of staff, and hundreds of volunteers.

The senior management team works closely with the chief executive to ensure the charity is on track to achieve its mission, a future where cervical cancer is a disease of the past.

Every year in the UK around 3000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer – the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under.

Cervical cancer is not thought to be hereditary. In 99.7 per cent of cases, it is caused by persistent infections with a virus called high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV).

HPV is a very common virus transmitted through skin to skin contact in the genital area. Around four out of five sexually active adults, or 80 per cent, will be infected with some type of HPV in their lives.

For the majority of women, this will not result in cervical cancer. While HPV infection is common, cervical cancer is rare.

At the moment two women lose their lives to the disease every day and nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every day.

Some 75 per cent of cervical cancers can be prevented by cervical screening (smear tests).

Jo’s Trust wants to see the day when cervical cancer is a disease of the past so join us this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week to get closer to that day.

And there are lots of ways you can get involved.

n Hold an awareness day in your office, business, university, GP surgery or community centre – you can order free materials to display and hand out.

n Share your story – if you have been personally affected by cervical cancer or abnormalities and would like to talk about your experience to raise awareness then please get in touch with Jo’s Trust.

n Use social media – share the campaign images on social media to help spread the word about cervical cancer prevention.

n Host a fundraising event – bake cakes, dress in pink, organise a work quiz or sponsored cycle. Every pound raised will help raise awareness and support those affected.

n Contact your MP to raise awareness of the issues surrounding cervical cancer and prevention in your local area.

n Get your workplace to sign up to Time to Test, a campaign which raises awareness of cervical cancer in the workplace.

Visit www.jostrust.org.uk for more information.