Page added on January 24, 2013
A cheeky spontaneous street entertainment will take place in Leicester and Leicestershire on Saturday aimed at encouraging women to beat embarrassment and have a cervical screening test.
Studies show that the main reasons why local women do not attend their cervical screening appointments are embarrassment, fear of pain, and that they don’t have enough time. So a campaign called “No excuses” has been launched by the NHS in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
The campaign aims to promote cervical screening to women aged 25-29, addressing the main barriers to screening and letting them know that if caught early, cervical cancer can often easily be treated.
A “flash mob” – an apparently spontaneous public entertainment – takes place on Saturday 26 January by Leicester City Clock Tower at 1pm, and Coalville Clock Tower at 3pm. It will feature women with their skirts tucked in their knickers. The message is that looking like that in public is embarrassing, but having a cervical screen is not embarrassing. It’s normal. Among its aims is promoting www.noexcuses-nhs.co.uk – where information on cervical screening can be found, including advice and frequently asked questions.
Almost 3,400 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK each year – that’s nine women every day. It is the most common cancer in women under 35 years old.
Dr Sue Ellerby, Leicester’s deputy director of public health, said: “The national target is to screen 80% of eligible women. Last year three quarters of eligible Leicester women had been screened, but the response was particularly poor from those aged 25 to 29, where only 57% accepted their invitation to have the test. These are the women who we particularly want to reach with this campaign, and they need to make sure they are registered with a GP to be invited to have the test.”
Dawn Warner, an NHS social marketing manager co-ordinating the campaign, said: “We are organising the flash mob to catch people’s attention, raise awareness of cervical screening and to remind young women there are more embarrassing things than having a cervical screening test!”
If you are female and between the ages of 25 and 64, NHS cervical screening programme staff will write to you every three to five years and ask you to go for a test at your GP surgery. It is important that you attend these appointments, because, if caught early, treatment can often prevent cervical changes developing into cancer.
Make sure you are registered with a GP so that you are invited for NHS screening tests. If you are not registered with a GP practice, or you would prefer an alternative, you can have a cervical screen at a family planning clinic. For more information on where to go visit www.noexcuses-nhs.co.uk.