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This week is Cervical Screening Awareness Week, an annual event which, this year,  runs from 20 to 26 June.

The week aims to highlight the importance of regular cervical screening for health.

Cervical screening is routinely offered in Scotland, every five years, between the ages of 25 and 64 .  

Cervical screening (also known as a smear test) is a quick test to check around the neck of the womb (the cervix) for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

HPV is a common virus that can cause many different types of cancer, including 99% of all cervical cancers.

Having both the HPV vaccination and cervical screening will dramatically reduce the number of people with cervical cancer in Scotland.

Cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer in women under 35, with two women in the UK per day dying from the disease.

Regular cervical screening appointments can prevent up to 75% of instances of cervical cancer, saving 5000 lives per year.

Despite this, many women are reluctant to have this test done with a quarter of women not responding to their screening invitation.

NHS Western Isles encourages women to attend their screening when invited, or if you are late to attend, please get in touch with your GP practice to arrange an appointment.

Women are also asked to be aware of any unusual signs and symptoms, such as; abnormal bleeding, unusual and/or unpleasant vaginal discharge, discomfort or pain during sex or/ and lower back pain.

If you have any of these symptoms please seek advice from your GP. For a fuller list please visit: Cervical cancer - Illnesses & conditions | NHS inform  or for further information about cervical cancer or the cervical screening itself visit Jo’s Trust website at  www.jostrust.org.uk or speak to your GP practice.