Cervical screening can stop cancer before it starts

  • 12 March, 2019

Public Health England (PHE) launches government's first national cervical screening campaign, to help tackle decline in numbers getting tested - 

- Number of women attending cervical screening falls to a 20-year low

- Two women happen to fall to death everyday, of cervical cancer in England

- Research from PHE finds that 9 out of 10 women would take a test that could help prevent cancer, but 1 in 4 choose not to attend their cervical screening

Public Health England (PHE) has launched a new national campaign, ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’, to increase the number of women attending their cervical screening across England. The campaign encourages women to respond to their cervical screening invitation letter, and if they missed their last screening, to book an appointment at their GP practice.

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 attended screening regularly, 83% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented.

New research from PHE shows that nearly all women eligible for screening (90%) would be likely to take a test that could help prevent cancer, and of those who have attended screening, nine in 10 (94%) would encourage others who are worried to attend their cervical screening. Despite this, screening is at a 20-year low,  with one in four eligible women (those aged 25 – 64) in the UK not attending their test.

The new PHE campaign provides practical information about how to make the test more comfortable and gives reassurance to women, who may be fearful of finding out they have cancer, that screening is not a test for cancer. Regular screening, which only takes a few minutes, can help stop cervical cancer before it starts, as the test identifies potentially harmful cells before they become cancerous and ensures women get the right treatment as soon as possible.

The PHE research shows that once they have been screened, the vast majority of women feel positive about the experience, with eight in 10 (87%) stating they are glad they went and that they were put at ease by the nurse or doctor doing the test (84%).

Fellow Radio presenter Noreen Khan said: “It’s simple, cervical screening save lives. When I get my reminder in the post, I don’t just put the letter to one side, I’ll call the GP surgery and make my appointment otherwise it’s too easy to forget and get busy with life. Once I’ve had my test it gives me peace of mind for a few years. I’d urge all you ladies not to ignore the crucial cervical screening test which could potentially save your life.”

For further information about cervical screening, please search ‘NHS Cervical Screening’ or visit