Cervical screening saves lives

17 Jun 2024

Bromley clinicians are urging residents to have their routine cervical cancer screening test as it could save their life.  75.9% of eligible patients have had their cervical screening in Bromley. A Bromley cervical cancer screening campaign is dedicated to breaking down the barriers that prevent the remaining 24.1% of people from getting screened.

Dr Sophie Hallam, Bromley GP Clinical Lead for Cancer said, “Cervical screening saves lives. I understand it may not always be the easiest of tests for you to have, but it could save your life.  It’s a quick and simple test that can identify abnormal cells that if left, could develop into cancer”.

“Our ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives!’ campaign was directly informed by the views and experiences of Bromley residents and the barriers they face in getting screened. Nearly 400 responded to our survey. Some told us they avoided screening due to it being too uncomfortable or being anxious about it.  Other people felt it wasn’t important. We want to help people who find it hard or don’t come forward and empower them to be screened so they can protect their future.”

“If you have never been screened before or have had a bad experience in the past which is preventing you coming again, please ask for an appointment with your practice nurse to talk it through. They are extremely knowledgeable and caring and will answer all your questions. Many people from our survey who have been successfully screened said the nurse was very reassuring and that they were made to feel comfortable during their screening.  We are here to help you have this important test.  It is easier to be brave when you are not alone”.

The campaign promotes a Bromley information leaflet which explains what is involved in cervical screening and when and how to get your test.  It provides lots of useful tips on how to prepare for screening, get through it and a reminder to reward yourself afterwards!  The leaflet also has lots of useful information on supporting you to come forward for your cervical screening.

Dr Nada Lemic, Director of Public Health at Bromley Council said, “Whilst cancer screening uptake rates in Bromley are the highest in south east London, they fall short of the national target.  This is a concern as cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer and put simply – screening saves lives.  To prepare for the campaign, we analysed in depth which groups of people were not coming forward for screening, and captured views from nearly 400 residents on their experiences and views about screening. This has been incredibly helpful in helping us focus the campaign on those groups we hear find it more difficult to have their screening”.

The Cervical Cancer Screening Health Equity Report is available online.

If you have a cervix and are aged between 25 and 64, then you are eligible for cervical screening.  If you are registered as female with a GP, you will automatically receive an invitation when you are due.  Make sure your GP practice has your current address. If you think you are due and haven’t received a letter, or have missed an appointment, give your GP surgery a call to check. If you have missed your last screening test, you do not have to wait for another letter to book.

More information about the Cervical Screening Saves Lives campaign and the information leaflet is available at www.selondonics.org/BromleyCervicalScreening