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Bradford councillors back cervical screening campaign
11:00am Monday 28th January 2013 in News
Bradford councillors are lending their support to a cervical screening campaign which is encouraging young women to have the life-saving test.
Councillor Ruth Billheimer (Lab, Eccleshill) and Councillor Sarah Ferriby (Lab, Wyke) both owe their lives to the smear test and are urging women aged 25 to 34 to make an appointment when they are invited for screening.
They will both be at a stall in the upper mall in Kirkgate Market in Bradford tomorrow, where leaflets and information about the test will be available to shoppers from 10am to 2pm.
Coun Billheimer is keen to encourage women to take the test as the detection of abnormal cells at one of her cervical screening tests helped saved her life.
She said: “It was thanks to a smear test at a screening session at work in 1986. If I hadn’t gone for the screening, that could have developed into cancer and I wouldn’t be here to tell the tale.”
Coun Ferriby was similarly tested and treated successfully. “That’s why it’s vitally important for women to be routinely tested so that if there are any changes they are detected and treated as soon as possible,” she said.
Coun Billheimer is also urging mothers to encourage their daughters to take the test. She said: “I’ve made sure that my two daughters go for regular screening and I think every mother should be talking to her adult children about this.”
Arshad Hussain, acting screening co-ordinator and senior public health manager for NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds, said: “We’re asking the close relatives of the women we’re targeting – primarily mothers like Ruth – but also aunts, sisters and cousins, to encourage them to take the test. Their support can positively influence their loved ones and ensure the best possible well-being for them.
“Having a smear test takes just a few minutes. Women have the choice of a female doctor or nurse and they can also bring a friend for support if they wish. The test can detect any abnormalities or changes in the cervix which, if left untreated, could lead to cervical cancer.”
When invited for a test, women receive a letter from their primary care trust or GP asking them to make an appointment for screening.
Most women receive a normal result and will be recalled for another routine test within three to five years. Some receive an abnormal result. This means the laboratory has identified some cell changes which need further investigation. Depending upon the degree of changes, women may be asked to have a repeat test in six or 12 months, or may be referred for further investigation.