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.
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”
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.