Local health leaders say vaccination and screening is vital to eliminate cervical cancer

19 June 2024


This week, 17 to 23 June, during cervical cancer awareness week, local health leaders are urging people to take up their offer of the HPV vaccination and cervical screening invitations to help eliminate cervical cancer.

It is widely known that getting the HPV vaccination and attending screening is the best way of preventing cervical cancer, however, figures show three in ten of those eligible for screening do not take up the potentially life-saving offer.

One medical practice in Donnington has seen a significant uptake in cervical cancer screening after trialling a health behaviour change approach called The Health Belief Model.

The Health Belief Model involves contacting people who have never attended a cervical screening appointment to understand and address the barriers with the aim of increasing uptake. This resulted in 90% of people contacted subsequently attending a screening invite.

Dr Maria Balas, a GP at Donnington Medical Practice, said: “Cervical cancer is a preventable and curable disease, to put it bluntly, vaccination and screening saves lives! 

“Talking about the seriousness of cervical cancer, the benefits, and barriers to cervical cancer screening helps most people come forward and find support they need to complete their screening.

“By working together and talking about vaccination and screening, we can make reality the dream of eradicating cervical cancer in the next few years.”

Vanessa Whatley, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said: “Getting the HPV vaccination and attending screening is the best way of preventing cervical cancer, which is why it’s important that you book an appointment when invited.

“I’d also encourage anyone who has previously received an invitation and may have been unable to attend at the time, not to wait until you get another invitation before contacting your GP practice. You can still book a cervical screening appointment even if you were invited weeks, months or years ago.”

The HPV vaccine prevents invasive strains of the virus, known to cause almost all cervical cancers, as well as some mouth and throat cancers. It is given to both girls and boys in secondary school to protect them against catching the HPV infection and developing into pre-cancerous and cancer cells.

It is still important to attend cervical screening appointments if you have been vaccinated against HPV as the vaccine does not provide protection from all types of HPV, so there is a still a small chance of getting cervical cancer.

More information on NHS cervical screening and how to book an appointment is available at www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening.


Page last updated 19 June 2024