Steve McCabe MP meets campaigners to discuss worrying trends in the fight against cervical cancer

Steve McCabe MP (Birmingham, Selly Oak) has called for greater measures to be taken to help prevent cervical cancer, including strategies to prevent declining rates of uptake for cervical screening, and continued promotion of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination amongst teenage girls.

Steve McCabe MP met with campaigners from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to talk about declining rates of cervical screening. Eight women each day in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer, with three women losing their lives to the disease. The latest figures on cervical screening uptake in England, published in November 2014 by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), showed that the numbers of women taking up their cervical screening invitation has dropped, resulting in over one million women missing out on a potentially lifesaving test in 2013/14. The statistics showed that screening uptake has fallen below 78% for the first time in over 20 years.

In Birmingham, just 54% of 25-29 year olds attended cervical screening within the last 3 years (compared to a national average of 63%). In total, 28% of women aged 25-64 have not been screened within the last five years.

Uptake for HPV vaccination amongst 12-13 year olds was also slightly below the national average, with just 88% receiving all three doses. Since the time period covered by these figures the vaccine is now available in two doses, which campaigners hope will increase overall uptake.  

Steve McCabe MP said:

“Cervical cancer and its prevention is an important issue which directly impacts the lives of many women and their families in Birmingham. I was concerned to hear about the worrying figures for cervical screening and the HPV vaccine uptake. It is really important we ensure that women and girls are aware of the symptoms and impact of cervical cancer and to increase uptake of cervical screening and HPV vaccination. I fully welcome the actions of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust in their work to help prevent cervical cancer, and I am asking everyone to join them in the fight to eradicate this disease.”

Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, commented:

“Every day we see the devastating impact a cervical cancer diagnosis can have on both a woman and her loved ones. But to know that for those that delayed their screening before diagnosis, this could have been prevented, is tragic. It’s now time that we see increased investment in targeted awareness campaigns at a local level so that everyone has a clear understanding of the importance of both cervical screening and HPV vaccination in preventing cervical cancer.”

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