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Black women urged to get screened for cervical cancer

AWARENESS: This week marks Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

HEALTH CAMPAIGNERS are urging women from black and minority ethnic communities to come forward for smear tests after concerns that too many see the process as “irrelevant”.

This week (January 22 – 28) marks Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, and the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust says it is vital that BAME women in the UK take the issue seriously.

According to research it conducted in 2012, more than 40 per cent of ethnic minority women aged 55 to 65 do not think cervical cancer screening is a necessary health test.

Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “Cervical screening prevents against 75 per cent of cervical cancers – however, one in four women across the UK do not take up their invitation for this potentially life-saving test. Among women from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, attendance is even lower.

CALL: Black women are being advised to attend their smear tests

“Our research has found a third more BAME women of screening age have never attended a cervical screening appointment compared to white women, and only half are able to identify the human papillomavirus (HPV) as the cause of cervical cancer, compared to almost two thirds of white women.

A positive finding is that twice as many BAME women as white women said better knowledge about the test and its importance would encourage them to attend. Music continued: “There is far more that needs to be done to increase awareness and understanding of screening or we will see lives lost.

“I would encourage every woman to take up their screening invitation – it’s a five minute test but it could save your life. This week we will be encouraging women to talk to their friends, mothers and daughters about the steps they can take to reduce their risk of the disease.”

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