Great British Bake Off star Laura Adlington and This Morning’s GP Dr Nighat Arif are fronting our new cervical cancer campaign, to encourage younger Londoners to attend an NHS cervical screening appointment when invited.
Cervical screening is offered to women and all people with a cervix, between the ages of 25 to 64, and helps prevent cervical cancer by checking for human papillomavirus (HPV.) However, only 60% of 25 to 49-year-olds living in London currently attend screening. The attendance is significantly higher for 50 to 64-year-olds living in London at 72%. (Source: NHS Digital).
HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer and there are certain types of the virus that can cause abnormal cells to develop in the cervix, which can turn into cancer if left untreated.
Our new campaign - which coincides with Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (22nd January to 28th January) - aims to debunk common misconceptions about cervical cancer and screening.
It is often wrongly assumed that never having penetrative sex or having one sexual partner means you are not at risk of developing cervical cancer and exempt from screening. However, the virus can also be passed from skin-to-skin contact of the genital area, not just from penetrative sex, and can also stay in the body for a long time.
Laura Adlington and Dr Arif are starring in a series of videos where they will be discussing the link between sex and cervical cancer and tackling common misconceptions about cervical screening. Shorter versions of the videos will also be streamed on the popular dating site Tinder and across social media (Instagram, TikTok and Snap Chat) from 22nd January.
GP Dr Nighat Arif said: "Cervical screening is the single most accurate way to detect HPV and very early cell changes at the cervix. Please attend your screening appointment when invited."
Sean McCloy, Director of the South East London Cancer Alliance, said: “We understand it can sometimes be difficult to attend a screening appointment for a variety of reasons including work and childcare commitments, anxiety, and misinformation surrounding the test. But these tests are vital; they can prevent cancer.
“It’s fantastic that we’ve joined forces with our neighbouring Cancer Alliances and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to reach as many Londoners as possible. We hope our joint campaign will help people feel informed about why attending screening is important and feel empowered to ask for support ahead of and during their appointment.”
Attending screening is the best way of preventing cervical cancer, which is why it’s important that you book an appointment when invited. To find out more about cervical screening and how to book your appointment, visit: https://www.cervicalcancerpreventionweek.com/