Young women in West Leeds who have received an invitation for cervical screening are being urged to book an appointment as soon as possible, writes Liam O’Sullivan.
Women who are registered with a GP practice in the area are invited to attend their first cervical screening at the age of 25.
Cancer Wise Leeds say cervical screenings, also known as smear tests, help to prevent cancer by detecting early changes in cells, allowing them to be treated before they become cancerous.
Women who have had the HPV vaccine or are not currently sexually active, as well as trans men and non-binary people, are also encouraged to take part if invited to a screening.
Cancer Wise Leeds, partnered with the Leeds Cancer Programme, are funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research and are led by Leeds City Council. Over the past three years, they’ve aimed to encourage more young women to participate in the three national screening programmes for bowel, breast and cervical cancer.
Emily, a clerical officer from Leeds, recently had her first cervical screening. Revealing what her experience was like, she said: “When I received my invitation for a smear test, I was a little bit apprehensive. However, the support I received from my GP surgery to help book my appointment was fantastic and it made the process really easy.
“While the smear test was a little uncomfortable, now I’ve done it once, I truly believe it will be so much easier next time. If I were to offer any advice to anyone taking the test, it would be move at your own pace, ask all the questions you need, and it will be over in a flash.”
Leeds City Council Executive Member, Councillor Salma Arif, has also reached out to young women across the city: “Through the Cancer Wise Leeds project, we are encouraging every single person in Leeds who has been invited for their first cervical screening to make their appointment as soon as they possibly can. The reason we want this to happen is very simple – cancer screening can save lives.
“If you do have any issues or concerns, please don’t ignore your screening invite, but instead speak to your local GP practice.
“Confidentiality is assured and where possible, every attempt will be made to meet any specific needs or needs that you have.”