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Cervical cancer specialist urges women in Lichfield and Burntwood not to miss smear tests

Women in Lichfield and Burntwood have been reminded not to miss out on potentially lifesaving cervical screening appointments.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that up to one in five women do not attend their scheduled sessions.

Ahmed Elattar

Ahmed Elattar

Consultant gynaecologist and gynaecological oncologist Ahmed Elattar from the Spire Little Aston Hospital says Cervical Screening Awareness Week – which runs from January 22 to 28 – is an ideal time to remind women of the importance of such appointments.

“Cervical cancer is a preventable disease,” he said. “The signs that it may develop can be often be spotted early and it can be treated before it even fully starts.

“While around 750 women in the UK die of cervical cancer every year, figures show that many of those who develop the disease have not been screened regularly.

“The single biggest risk factor for developing cervical cancer is not being regularly screened, yet it is thought that as many as one million women a year are missing out.”

Women aged 25 to 49 are invited to attend cervical screening, or smear tests, every three years, while those aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years. The screening can detect abnormal pre-cancerous cells in the cervix in order to prevent cancer.

Mr Elattar added: “It is important to get the message across that cervical screening is not a test for cancer, but instead allows for detection of abnormalities at an early stage.

“The routine of attending a cervical screening should be an important part of every woman’s health regime but for many women this message just isn’t getting through. Early detection opens the door for curative key hole surgery and is key to increasing survival rates. Therefore, educating everyone about the disease, its symptoms and ways to prevent it is very important.”

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