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Take three simple steps to reduce your cervical cancer risk during January’s Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

By Announcements, Awareness and Early Diagnosis

Women and people with a cervix are being encouraged to take three easy steps to significantly reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer, as part of Humber and North Yorkshire Cancer Alliance’s #PreventCervicalCancer campaign.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and the Cancer Alliance is urging people to adopt a few simple measures to reduce their risk of cervical cancer – which kills around 853 people in the UK each year.

It is estimated that one in 142 females or people with a cervix will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in their lifetime. But with almost all (98.8%) cervical cancer cases being preventable, you can reduce your risk by following these steps.

  1. Attend your cervical screening appointment and get vaccinated against Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Cervical screening, also known as a smear test, is a test to prevent cancer. It looks for conditions that may lead to cervical cancer, which can be detected years before cancer develops.

Cervical screening and HPV vaccination are the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.

The cervical screening appointment takes no more than 10 minutes and the test itself is over in a matter of minutes. All children aged 12 to 13 are offered the HPV vaccine, which helps to protect against all cancers caused by HPV.

Women and peopled with a cervix aged between 25 and 64 are invited for screening every three or five years (depending on your age) but one in three people invited to a cervical screening appointment do not take up the offer.

Cervical screening can sound daunting to some people but there really is no need to worry.

You can also visit the Let’s Talk Cervical Screening website from partners across Humber and North Yorkshire.

If you have reservations about taking up your cervical screening offer, watch this video from Meg Long, a 28-year-old mum of twins from Hull.

  1. Be clued up about cervical cancer

Early detection increases your chances of surviving cervical cancer so knowing what symptoms to look out for is important.

Symptoms of cervical cancer include:

  • Vaginal bleeding that’s unusual for you – including bleeding during or after sex, between your periods or after the menopause, or having heavier periods than usual
  • Changes to your vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain in your lower back, between your hip bones (pelvis), or in your lower stomach.

The Cancer Alliance’s Cancer Champions programme is running bite-sized cervical cancer education sessions during January to raise about cervical cancer and the steps you can take to reduce your risk.

These 30-minute sessions are fun, interactive and equip attendees with vital information about cervical cancer prevention. Click on the link above to book your place on one of these sessions or to find out more.

  1. Spread the word about cervical cancer to raise awareness

The Cancer Alliance will be spreading the word about cervical cancer across many channels throughout January using the hashtag #PreventCervicalCancer, including its website, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) channels.

You can show your support for the campaign by sharing the Cancer Alliance’s posts on your social media channels.

Share the below video from York GP Dr Sam Plummer about what to expect at your cervical screening appointment, to encourage eligible people to book theirs.

Find out more about how you can support the Cancer Alliance’s #PreventCervicalCancer campaign by visiting our website: www.hnycanceralliance.org.uk/cervicalcancer.

Throughout January, Cancer Alliance colleagues and partners will be out in the community to spread awareness about cervical cancer symptoms and preventative measures.

We will be visiting supermarkets, leisure centres and other community spaces to have conversations with members of the public about cervical cancer, giving away leaflets, information cards and lots more in the process.

Dr Dan Cottingham, Cancer Research UK GP Lead for Humber and North Yorkshire Cancer Alliance, said: “Cervical cancer is the most preventable cancer so it is recommended that you attend your cervical screening appointment if you are invited – it takes just 10 minutes to complete and could end up saving your life.

“It is important to raise awareness about the symptoms of cervical cancer so it is really pleasing that the Cancer Alliance is offering these 30-minute, bitesize awareness sessions; and will also be out in the community to spread the word about cervical cancer prevention at supermarkets, leisure centres and other community spaces.

“We need the public’s support to ensure all women and people with a cervix are equipped with the knowledge to reduce their risk of developing so please spread the word across social media and other channels using the hashtag #PreventCervicalCancer.”

Visit the Cancer Alliance’s Cervical Cancer Awareness Month webpage to find out more.

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