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Richard Lochhead teams up with cervical cancer charity

By Jonathan Clark

Moray's SNP MSP Richard Lochhead has teamed up with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to encourage people to attend their smear test in order to prevent cervical cancer.

Mr Lochhead is teaming up with the charity to mark cervical screening awareness week, which takes place from June 10-16.

Around 220,000 women are diagnosed with cell changes (abnormalities) every year in the United Kingdom following a smear test. Treatment for cell changes, given to prevent development of cervical cancer, is highly successful and 80 per cent of those treated will not experience a recurrence.

However, new research by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has found that some women undergoing this treatment are not being informed about potential side effects. Many are unprepared for impacts such as pelvic pain, bleeding, anxiety and even loss of sex life. High numbers also remain fearful of their cancer risk many years after treatment.

A new report called ‘Not so simple. The impact of cervical cell changes and treatment’ says 20 per cent of women were not told of potential impacts.While 86 per cent experienced bleeding or spotting for up to six weeks, one in seven were unaware of the side effect. The charity wants to see standardised information about potential side effects.

Richard Lochhead said: “I am pleased to support cervical screening awareness week to highlight the importance of cervical screening, a five minute test that can prevent cervical cancer. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust have published a useful ‘jargon buster’ to explain what all the terms mean and are calling for more support for those affected.”

Rebecca Shoosmith, head of support services at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: "We must start to see it as more than just a simple procedure and acknowledge the impact diagnosis and treatment can have on women. Better information provision and support for those having treatment is essential.

"The psychological impact can be significant and feeling uninformed will only add to women feeling less able to seek support. There is a clear need for greater discussion about side effects. Other health professionals such as GPs and practice nurses should also take the time to ask questions and ascertain if further support is needed.”

Marianne Wood, nurse colposcopist, added: "It is vital that women fully understand what is happening to them and feel able to manage any side effects. We must remember that every woman is different and will need an individualised approach to their treatment."

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