Skip to main content

Cervical screening

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:

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.

Let’s talk cervical screening: Local hairdressers and beauticians start a new topic of conversation with clients

By Awareness and Early Diagnosis, Cancer Champions, Uncategorised

If you ask someone what they talk to their hairdresser or beautician about, you might expect answers such as social events, holiday plans, and family updates. However, several salons in the Humber and North Yorkshire region will be adding cervical screening to their topics of conversation from this week.

Monday, 19th June 2023 marks the start of Cervical Screening Awareness Week and Humber and North Yorkshire Cancer Alliance is working with hairdressers and beauticians from areas with the some of the lowest rates of uptake, to help encourage more women and people with a cervix (aged from 25 to 64) to book their cervical screening appointment.

With almost one in three people not booking their cervical screening appointment, Humber and North Yorkshire Cancer Alliance has equipped local hairdressers and beauticians with the information needed to talk about the benefits of cervical screening, and breakdown any barriers that may prevent someone from booking an appointment.

Cervical screening helps to prevent cervical cancer by checking for a virus called high-risk HPV which causes nearly all cervical cancers. This means any cervical cell abnormalities can be treated. If left untreated, these cells can develop into cancer.

Local mum, Meg, encouraging young people to book their first cervical screening

“I am so glad I went for my initial cervical screening.” – Meg Long, Hull

Meg Long, a mum of twins from Hull, attended her first cervical screening appointment at the age of 25 and said “Life is busy, and I could have easily let my cervical screening fall to the bottom of my to do list, especially as I was not looking forward to having it done, but I am so glad I went.

“After my appointment, I was invited back for a second screening which showed abnormal cells and HPV, so I was referred for a colposcopy and waited anxiously for the test.

“The whole thing was over much quicker than I thought it would be and all of the staff were lovely. A few weeks later, I was pleased to find out my results no longer showed HPV or abnormal cells.

“I am so glad I went for my initial cervical screening. It was not as unpleasant as I thought, and all of the NHS staff made me feel as comfortable as possible. Plus, getting the peace of mind when you get your results is worth it!”

Dr Dan Cottingham, Cancer Research UK GP Lead for Humber and North Yorkshire Cancer Alliance, said: “If you have been invited for a cervical screening and have not booked an appointment yet, please contact your GP practice without delay. If you have any questions or are worried that you may find the test uncomfortable, talk to the person doing the test so they give you the right support.

“We are excited to be working with local hairdressers and beauticians who can talk to lots of people about cervical screening. The more local Cancer Champions we have helping us raise awareness of NHS cancer screening programmes, the more likely we are to encourage uptake and improve outcomes for people in Humber and North Yorkshire”

The FeMale Ego Hair and Beauty team are encouraging important discussions about cervical screening

Donna Finn, owner of FeMale Ego Hair and Beauty salon in Hull, said: “My own experience of cancer meant I jumped at the chance to learn more about cervical screening. I want to support my clients to not only look good on the outside, but also be aware of how they can help look after themselves on the inside.

“I feel confident to talk about cervical screening and know I can signpost my clients to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust or the NHS website if they need more information they can trust.”

Skip to content