Figures released today by Public Health England show that there has been a drop in the number of women having regular cervical screening tests. They show that around three million women under 50 have not had a smear test for more than three years, and another million women in the 50 – 64 age bracket have not had a test for more than five and a half years. These rates are at their lowest levels for almost twenty years. This matters to anyone worried about their fertility as treatment for cervical cancer may leave you unable to have children in the future.
It is vital that we all go for regular smear tests as cervical cancer as the screening test is estimated to save more than 4,000 lives every year. Having regular screening means that if there are any unusual changes in the cells in your cervix, this will be identified at an early stage and if you need treatment, it can be given early to stop cancer developing. You can read more about cervical cancer screening on the NHS website and there is information about screening and cervical cancer on Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and the Eve Appeal’s websites.
Last night I went to an amazing event organised by the Eve Appeal, a gynaecological cancer research charity, as part of their gynaecological cancer awareness month. The subject was Talking Taboos and the evening aimed to discuss the things we don’t usually discuss, which can be a barrier to seeking advice about symptoms which lead to gynaecological cancers.
It made me think about how many taboos there are about fertility and treatment, and all the things we find difficult to discuss. It is so hard to break down those barriers when you are feeling sad and isolated, but you are really not alone. One in seven of the population experiences problems when they are trying to get pregnant and there are 3.5 million people in the UK who are currently trying unsuccessfully to conceive. Next time you feel alone, remember how many of us there are out there – and how much we can help one another.
It’s the first day of March today, which means it’s time to Make Time for Tea for the Eve Appeal. The Eve Appeal is the only UK national charity raising awareness and funding research in the five gynaecological cancers. It was set up to save women’s lives by promoting research looking at effective methods of risk prediction, earlier detection and developing screening for these women-only cancers.
The Make Time for Tea initiative is part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and is aimed at encouraging women (and men) to open up about ovarian cancer and understand the vital signs and symptoms as early detection is key. A tea party is the perfect opportunity to do just this and also raise funds for and awareness of ovarian cancer.
You could host your own event as a tea party to raise funds by asking for donations, or run a bake sale. The Eve Appeal have free fundraising packs, and the first 500 people to sign up will receive a free fabulous Vintage Apron Pattern from Vogue Patterns!
Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer amongst women in the UK and very little has changed for ovarian cancer survival, where so much progress has been made for other health conditions. Over 7,300 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year and sadly 11 women die every day – the team at the Eve Appeal are determined to change these statistics, but they need your help…