MILLIONS of women across the UK could be at risk of cervical cancer due to a delay in testing, research has found.
In England, NHS cervical cancer screening is offered every three years to women and people with a cervix between the ages of 24.5 and 49.
A screening is offered every five years for those aged 50 and 64.
But due to the coronavirus pandemic, many women have admitted they have postponed testing, leaving them vulnerable to disease.
research out online doctor found that 37 percent of women ages 25 to 34 said restrictions prevented or delayed them from booking their test.
43 percent of those aged 35 to 44 said that the pandemic had meant that they had not attended a screening appointment either.
Cervical cancer is 99.8 percent preventable if caught early through routine screening.
There are more than 3,000 cases of cervical cancer in the UK each year.
The survey of 1,000 women via Online Doctor follows the launch of the Help Us Help You campaign.
The aim is to encourage women and all eligible individuals to make an appointment now if they missed their last screening.
dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Medical Director of Primary Care at NHS England, said: “There’s no doubt about it – cervical cancer screening saves lives.
“By screening for risk signs at an early stage, abnormal cells can be treated quickly before they potentially develop into cancer.
“We know it can feel embarrassing or something you can easily put off, but accepting your invitation and getting checked could save your life.
“And please speak to your GP practice about any concerns you might have – we’re here to help.”
Cervical Cancer Symptoms You Need to Know
There are no obvious symptoms in the early stages of cervical cancer – so it’s best to have your GP remind you to have your swabs taken.
However, vaginal bleeding can often be a telltale sign, especially if it occurs after sex, between periods, or after menopause.
However, abnormal bleeding is not a definitive sign of the disease, but only a possible indicator and should be checked.
Other warning signs are:
- pain and discomfort during sex
- unusual or uncomfortable vaginal discharge
- Lower back or pelvic pain
And if it spreads to other organs, the signs may include:
- Lower back or pelvic pain
- severe pain in your side or back caused by your kidneys
- pee or poop more than usual
- Loss of control of your bladder or bowels
- blood in your pee
- Swelling in one or both legs
- heavy vaginal bleeding
Cervical screening checks for high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that most people get at some point.
For people with high-risk HPV, the risk of developing cancer is low, but it is important to catch abnormal changes early.
Cellular changes can be easily treated to prevent cervical cancer – This is why attending screening appointments is so important.
Worries about pain and shame keep many people from getting their swab done, however Most women don’t find it particularly uncomfortable, and it’s over quicker than you might think.
It was revealed last month that women may only need one swab in their lives thanks to a new vaccine.
The HPV vaccine leads to such a dramatic reduction in cervical cancer that it could mean the end of regular screening, experts said.
Teenage girls have been vaccinated against cancer later in life since 2008 and boys against HPV since 2019.
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https://www.thesun.ie/health/8689331/urgent-cancer-warning-millions-missed-smear-pandemic/ Urgent cancer warning for millions who have missed swab tests during the pandemic