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As Cervical Screening Awareness Week draws to a close I am delighted to have joined local activist Suzanne Fernando and local residents, April Smithand Emma Paterson and her daugher Ami, to support this important cause once again. This is very important to highlight the potential life-saving benefits of cervical screening (smear tests). Cervical screening prevents up to 75% of cervical cancers from developing and saves an estimated 5,000 lives across the UK every year. However, one in four women do not attend when invited. During Cervical Screening Awareness Week, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s only dedicated charity for women affected by cervical cancer and abnormalities, warned that more needs to be done to make it easier for women to access a screening appointment by ensuring that there are a range of appointment times available at their GP practice, more access at sexual health services and that new technologies such as self-sampling should be piloted. Smear tests are largely delivered in GP practices with five million women invited every year in the UK. However, new research by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has found a worrying one in eight women find it difficult or even impossible to book an appointment. 7.4% of women were told no appointments at their GP practice were available the last time they tried to book. I was delighted to support Cervical Screening Awareness Week, and the work of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. It’s extremely concerning that more than one in four women do not attend their smear test. Part of the reason for this is that many women find it hard to get an appointment time that suits them and I support Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s call for action by health services to increase access.” Find out more about Cervical Screening Awareness Week at Ends About cervical cancer • The majority (99.7%) of cervical cancers are caused by persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection which causes changes to the cervical cells • 220,000 UK women are diagnosed with cervical abnormalities each year • Over 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 890 women lose their lives every year • Around 5 million UK women are invited to cervical screening each year yet one in four do not attend • Women aged 25-49 are invited every three years and women aged 50-64 are invited every five years

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