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Press Release

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Title
Cervical screening drop-in clinic
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Press release date06/02/2019
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Summary
On Saturday 9 March, the colposcopy team at Leicester’s Hospitals are offering cervical screening for the community.
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Press release

There’s no need to book, the drop-in sessions will run from 9am until 4pm, at: 


  • Gynaecology Services Unit (GSU) at Leicester General Hospital


  • Kensington Building at Leicester Royal Infirmary.


In addition, from Monday 11 until 15 March 2019, the colposcopy team is encouraging female staff members of Leicester’s Hospitals who are due for a cervical smear test, to attend one of many drop-in sessions running at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, Glenfield and the General Hospital over lunchtime.


Dr Vishanthi Shesha, Consultant Gynaecologist and Colposcopy Clinical Lead at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “We understand the time constraints women have so by holding this Saturday drop in clinic we hope it will encourage women to come forward to have their screening at their convenience.”


“Leicester’s Hospitals is one of the biggest employers locally so we are also running drop in clinics during lunchtimes for our staff across all three of our hospitals.”


“Cervical screening (a smear test) takes only a few minutes and is a vital cancer screening test that detects abnormal cells on the cervix and is available for all women between the ages of 25 and 64 years of age.”


The aim of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme is to reduce the number of women who develop cervical cancer and the number of women who die from the condition. Leicester’s cervical screening uptake is lower than the national average, due to multiple factors such as lack of awareness, fear of examination and cultural beliefs.


Since the screening programme was first introduced in the 1980s, the number of cervical cancer cases has decreased by about 7% each year. Most people with pre-cancer and early stage cervical cancer do not have any symptoms, so by taking part in cervical screening pre-cancer cells can be picked up early and treated sooner.


Results will be sent to the GP practice as well as the individual. These clinics are only for those who are due for cervical screening (a smear test) due before 9th July 2019. 


If you would like to find out more or have any queries please email cervicalsmear@uhl-tr.nhs.uk   


ENDS


NOTES


The cervical screening test usually takes around 5 minutes to carry out. The cell sample is then sent off to a laboratory for analysis and you should receive the result within 2 weeks.


Screening is usually carried out by the practice nurse at people’s GP clinic. The cervical screening programme invites women aged 25 to 49 – every 3 years, 50 to 64 – every 5 years, 65 – only women who have recently had abnormal tests.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 


How do I know if I am overdue or due a cervical smear test? If you have a recent smear invitation letter or are due for cervical screening (a smear test) before the 9 July 2019 you can come to the drop in sessions.


How do I find out when my last smear was?  You can get the date from your GP surgery. If you attend the drop-in clinic please bring along your last cervical screening date  (a smear date) and your GP details.


What is the age range for a smear test? All women who are registered with a GP are invited for cervical screening: 

  • aged 25 to 49 – every 3 years, 
  • aged 50 to 64 – every 5 years and 
  • over 65 – only women who have recently had abnormal tests. 

 

Read more on Jo’s Trust website about why cervical smear tests start at 25 years old: https://www.jostrust.org.uk/about-cervical-cancer/cervical-screening/cervical-screening-under25?fbclid=IwAR1aI2_pIYNJBB8J6iqDrjWJO4H02GXHaWJxmiZVQD4UX2_IbgTG405UjfQ 


Can I attend if I am on my period? If your bleeding is light on the day of the test it should be fine.


Can I attend if I am pregnant and due for my cervical screening (smear test)? We do not do cervical screening (smear tests) on pregnant women. It’s safe to have it done 3 months after your delivery.


What is involved in a cervical screening? The cervical screening test usually takes around 5 minutes to carry out. You'll be asked to undress from the waist down and lie on a couch. If you're wearing a loose skirt you can usually remain fully dressed and just remove your underwear. The doctor or nurse will gently put an instrument called a speculum into your vagina. This holds the walls of the vagina open so the cervix can be seen.  A small soft brush will be used to gently collect some cells from the surface of your cervix. Some women find the procedure a bit uncomfortable or embarrassing, but for most women it isn't painful. If you find the test painful, tell the doctor or nurse as they may be able to reduce your discomfort. Try to relax as much as possible as being tense makes the test more difficult to carry out. Taking slow, deep breaths might help. You can also bring someone along to the appointment with you if you want support. The cell sample is then sent off to a laboratory for analysis and you should receive the result within 2 weeks.


What made you decide to run this cervical screening drop-in clinic? National figures show that a lot more women are not attending their smear tests including in Leicester and Leicestershire. There are many reasons people are not attending their cervical smears including lack of awareness, fear of an examination, embarrassment, difficulty in fitting in their appointment and people forgetting. As a team we wanted to help by providing a place where women who are due or overdue their cervical smear test can have it done without the hassle of making an appointment. Also this event can also act as a reminder to those who have been putting them off for months.


Why have you chosen these hospitals in particular to run these drop-in sessions? This is our first drop-in event for the community. At these two hospitals we can cater for a large number of women as we have the facilities and trained staff. I don't know what the response is going to be but these two hospitals will be able see a huge number should the message be taken up by women. 

  

Do you think this will increase the amount of women 25+ going to their screenings? Yes, we hope this will encourage more women to come forward. Especially women between 25 and 39 years who have been identified to have the lowest uptake in Leicester.

 

If it is successful, are you likely to do another drop-in session? If women find this as a convenient option we would hope to do these sessions more regularly.


If you have any further questions please email cervicalsmear@uhl-tr.nhs.uk 


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 


Marvellous medicine talk in March: Cervical screening programme 

  • Speaker: Dr Vishanthi Shesha, Consultant Gynaecologist
  • Date: Thursday 7th March
  • Time: 6pm - 7.30pm
  • Venue: Lecture Theatre, Clinical Education Centre at Leicester General Hospital 
  • Cost: FREE


Our Marvellous Medicine talks offer an insight into medical specialities at Leicester’s Hospitals and an opportunity to experience what is at the forefront of medicine in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.  Staff, Public Trust Members and the general public all are welcome to attend for free. Smear tests will not take place at this event. It is information based only.


Dr Shesha will discuss changes in the cervical screening programme due to start in 2019, ways to improve screening uptake and the importance of HPV vaccination in young girls. There is no need to book a place, simply come along on the day. 


Contact information:
Contact information
For media enquiries please contact:
Kimberleigh Salt
0116 258 8644
kimberleigh.salt@uhl-tr.nhs.uk
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Press release number
6762
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