Cervical screening and its ability to detect the early signs of cancer of the cervix can potentially save lives. It tests for the human papillomavirus (HPV) which can cause cervical cells to become abnormal. The majority of cases of cervical cancer are linked to high-risk HPV.
All women and people with a cervix in England and Northern Ireland between the ages of 25-64 are offered the service every three to five years, whilst all those in Wales and Scotland between those ages are invited every five years. Yet one in three still don’t take up their invite. Research suggests that this is largely due to stigma and fear surrounding getting a smear test.
Run annually by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, Cervical Screening Awareness Week aims to reduce stigma and ensure that all women and people with a cervix are able to access information and support.
Founded in 1999, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust was set up by James Maxwell to honour his wife, Jo Maxwell, a 40-year-old woman who had sadly passed away from the disease. When launching the charity, James said: “Jo’s hope was that everyone one day would have access to reliable information as well as receive support at every stage of pre-cancer and cancer of the cervix, including ‘follow up’ having survived the disease.”
Cervical screening is a key part of this message. “Cervical screening can stop cancer from ever developing,” explains the charity. “But we know that the test isn’t always easy. We’re encouraging people to share their tips, experiences and positive messages about screening.”
Pharmacy teams can get involved by:
- Sharing social media content or creating their own, using the hashtags #CervicalScreeningTip #CervicalScreeningAwarenessWeek #CSAW2023
- Downloading and displaying Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust posters in the pharmacy
- Creating newsletters, emails and websites to talk about the week.
- Following and engaging with the charity on Twitter @JoTrust or Instagram @JosCervicalCancerTrust
- Organise fundraising opportunities, such as a bake sale, for the whole community to get involved in
Staff can also signpost any customers concerned to the helpline provided by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust: 0808 802 8000 or their website for any additional support.
Visit Get involved to download resources.