Attending your cervical screening appointment when you are invited is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from getting cervical cancer. And that’s why Priyanka Abbi, Jas Dosanjh, Lakshmi Jesani and Chhaya Jones are supporting the ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’ campaign – sharing their experiences and encouraging all eligible Asian women to book their appointments as soon as they get their invite letters, and attend.
Research shows that 1 in 4 women do not attend their cervical screening – a test that could stop cancer before it starts. We also know that Asian women are even less likely to attend. So why is attendance so low? Priyanka shares her story:
Priyanka Abbi, 33 shares “I had my first screening two years ago. It was over in less than five minutes and wasn’t as uncomfortable as I imagined it would be. The results showed abnormal cells and after further investigations it revealed I had cervical cancer which left me in shock at the time. I wish I had gone for my screening test when I received the invitation. I kept putting it off as I found it difficult to find the time to go.
“I’ve been successfully treated now and would urge all women – especially Asian women, as I know talking about private body parts within our culture can be a taboo – please, please don’t ignore your cervical screening invite.”
Chhaya, 42 said “I had an abnormal result after I had been for my cervical screening, however I was successfully treated. I’m so glad I had the test. Since then, I religiously book my appointment when I receive my invitation and just tell myself that even if it is uncomfortable, that five minutes of discomfort could save my life.”
Jas Dosanjh, 45 said “As soon as I get my invitation letter, I make an appointment and go straight away. My last screening was fine but 15 years ago, I had an abnormal result from my test. I had treatment and was closely monitored for a while, then I was given the all clear. I then returned to the regular programme where I was invited every 3 years.
Lakshmi Jesani, 37 said “I always go for my screenings even though I get nervous about test on the day. Most tests are done by a female nurse, but I usually ask for a female nurse because you can, just to put my mind at rest. The nurses I have seen are very good at putting me at ease so that I don’t feel embarrassed and they have given me tips to make the test more comfortable. My last test I asked for a smaller speculum which was more comfortable and the test was over in minutes.”
Around 2,600 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year and around 690 women die from the disease – that’s two deaths every day.
It is estimated that if everyone in England attended screening regularly, 83% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented.
For further information about cervical screening, search ‘NHS Cervical Screening’