This Cervical Screening Awareness Week (19-25 June), people in the Black Country are being urged to make sure their cervical screenings are up to date.

Screening is offered free of charge to all women and people with a cervix over the age of 25. Invitations are sent from the NHS by letter, every three years for those aged 25 to 49 and every five years for those aged 50 to 64. For those aged 65 and over, you’ll only be invited if one of your last three tests was abnormal.

The cervical screening test, also known as a smear test, only takes a few minutes and involves a nurse taking a sample of cells from your cervix using a small, soft brush. The sample is then checked for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause changes to the cells of the cervix. These are called ‘high risk’ types of HPV.

Dr Ananta Dave, Chief Medical Officer for the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, said: “Going for screening when invited can help find high-risk HPV infection or abnormal changes to cells early before they develop into cancer. If cervical cancer is detected early, it is very treatable with a good outcome.

“Having regular cervical screening is the best way to protect yourself from cervical cancer so please make an appointment with your GP practice if your test is due. The process is really simple, and it only takes a few minutes.

“If you are worried or feel anxious about your appointment, you are not alone, speak to your nurse or doctor. We are here to support you and together we can save lives.”

If you have received an invitation, or it has been more than three years since your last test (five years if you are aged 50 or over), please contact your GP practice to make an appointment.

For more information on cervical screening, please visit the NHS website here.

A cancer hotline is also available for people living in Sandwell who are worried they may have symptoms of cancer. Concerned patients will be able to speak to a specialist nurse who can discuss their symptoms and offer advice on the next steps to take. Those registered with a Sandwell GP can ring the advice line on 0121 507 3330, Monday to Friday, between 8am and 4pm.

For more information on the cancer hotline, visit the Black Country Integrated Care System website here.

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