Jersey’s Social Security Minister is lending her support to a new campaign which encourages people not to delay having their cervical screening (smear) test.
The ‘Don’t Put It Off’ campaign was launched in late December to remind women, and people who have a cervix, of the importance of the potentially lifesaving test.
The Minister for Social Security, Deputy Judy Martin, whose department funds the test enabling it to be delivered free of charge to patients in GP practices or at Le Bas Centre, is today calling on people to book their screening. Her support comes at the start of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (17th – 23rd January).
Deputy Martin said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to provide this vital service in GP practices for free, under a Health Insurance contract with Jersey’s GPs. It’s important that as many women as possible book their appointment and I hope this year we see more people take up the opportunity to get checked. Regular cervical screening is so important. I’d urge all eligible women and people with a cervix to take up this important, quick, screening test, which could save their life.”
In support of the campaign, this week, an eye-catching window decal will be in place on one of the windows at de Gruchy department store, to help raise awareness.
John Marquis, store manager of de Gruchy, said: “At de Gruchy we are committed to supporting our local community. That’s why we have chosen to donate one of our windows to this campaign.
“Cervical cancer can affect any woman and is the most common cancer occurring in women aged 35 and under.
“We want to do our bit and raise awareness of this life-saving service. The more women that see our window and get tested the more of a difference we can make.”
The Don’t Put It Off campaign is backed by local mum Donna Beadle (pictured), who after putting off her cervical screening test was diagnosed precancerous cells. She has since undergone treatment and the abnormal cells removed. Supporters of the campaign also include Jersey’s Chief Nurse, Rose Naylor and Deputy Carina Alves.
Cervical cancer is the most common gynaecological cancer for a person, under the age of 35 with a cervix, although it can occur at any age. Cervical screening identifies Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV) infections – and the cell changes they cause – before cancer can develop. Women and people with a cervix aged between 25 and 49 should be screened once every three years and women and those with a cervix aged between 50 and 64 should be screened once every five years.
In Jersey, almost 7,000 women and people with a cervix attend for cervical screening every year. In the last five years in Jersey, 22 women and people with a cervix have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, and one to two people die every year.
More information on cervical screening (including how to register) is available through GP surgeries, the Le Bas Centre, and via the Government of Jersey website.