Cervical cancer affects around 3,200 new people in the UK every year – that’s more than 8 every single day. According to Cancer Research UK, an incredible 99.8% of UK cases are classed as preventable, which demonstrates just how important Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, held from the 18th to the 24th January this year, really is.
We’ve put together a list of different ways you can observe the week and play your part in helping to prevent the disease from claiming so many lives.
- Take charge of your own health
The number one way to play a part in reducing instances of this preventable disease if you have a cervix, is to take charge of limiting your own risk. In the UK, women are regularly invited for a smear test, which is a cervical cancer screening, between the ages of 25 and 64. If your family or medical history places you in a higher-risk group, you may be invited earlier or asked to continue attending screenings after you turn 64.
The idea of a pap smear can seem intimidating, especially if you’ve not had a similar medical procedure before. Jo’s Trust provides a lot of helpful information on the process, which can aid you in deciding whether or not to attend an appointment when you are invited.
Secondary school pupils are also offered the HPV vaccine, which aims to prevent the virus which can cause cervical cancer, in Year 8. Widespread vaccination aims to reduce future incidences of the disease, so take time to research and discuss the vaccine with any children you are responsible for.
- Research the cause
As with anything, understanding what cervical cancer is, its symptoms and ways it can be prevented is an incredibly effective way to honour Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. There is a wealth of information on the internet from reliable sources, like Cancer Research UK and Jo’s Trust. From being able to recognise the symptoms in yourself to being better able to empathise with others, take some time this week to broaden your knowledge of the issue.
- Raise awareness
Once you’ve researched the cause, you’re perfectly placed to start conversations with other people, whether that’s face-to-face with family members or through an online platform you have access to. Always making it clear where you have accessed your information from, though, and refrain from offering medical advice unless you’re a licensed medical professional.
- Donate funds
There are lots of great charities that work to raise awareness of cervical cancer and fund research into its treatment and prevention. We know things have been tough over the last year and many people are not in a position to donate a lump sum at the moment. That doesn’t mean you’re unable to offer some financial support, though. With Pledjar, you could donate your spare change to Cancer Research UK or the NHS Charities Together fund, supporting these causes without breaking the bank this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.
Find out more about giving with Pledjar today.