Public Health England launches first cervical screening campaign

Campaign aims to reverse 20-year low in the number of women receiving smear tests

Campaign aims to reverse 20-year low in the number of women receiving smear tests

Cervical Screening
Picture: iStock

The first screening campaign for cervical cancer has been launched in the hope of reversing a 20-year low in the number of women receiving smear tests.

Two women die from cervical cancer every day in England and more than 200,000 women a year are diagnosed with abnormal cell changes that could lead to the disease.

However, NHS Digital figures issued at the end of March last year show that one in four eligible women aged 25-64 do not attend screening tests.


Public Health England (PHE) has launched the first government campaign on the issue, with adverts running in national media, social media and video on demand.

Surveys show that young women in particular are putting off their smear tests because they are embarrassed and do not know what to expect.

But screening experts predict that, if everyone attended screening regularly, 83% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented.

PHE director of screening programmes Anne Mackie said: ‘The decline in numbers getting screened for cervical cancer is a major concern as it means millions of women are missing out on a potentially life-saving test.

Screening invitations

‘We want to see a future generation free of cervical cancer, but we will only achieve our vision if women take up their screening invitations.’

Loose Women star Christine Lampard is backing the campaign and said she will encourage her daughter Patricia to go for screening when she is older.

Ms Lampard said: ‘I can't say I’m thrilled when my cervical screening invite is posted through my door, but I know how important it is that I get tested.

‘It’s an awkward five minutes that could save your life.’

The campaign is also being supported by charities including Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

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