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LTB 025/24 - Cervical Cancer Prevention Week - 22nd - 28th January 2024 - Cervical Screening Saves Lives Campaign

No. 025/2024

18 January 2024

Our Ref:  P5/24 

To:  All Branches

Dear Colleagues,

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week – 22nd – 28th January 2024 – Cervical Screening Saves Lives Campaign:


The UK Health Security Agency, the NHS plus Charities like Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer are supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week which will run from 22 – 28 January 2024.

The campaign aims to raise awareness and to encourage all eligible women to not ignore their cervical screening invite or if they have missed their last cervical screening appointment, to book an appointment with their GP practice as soon as possible.

One in Three Don’t Attend Their Screening Appointments – Two Women Die Every Day!

Two women die every day from cervical cancer and the UK Health Security Agency, Public Health Agency Northern Ireland and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust have requested help to reduce this number.

Every day in the UK, 2 women lose their lives to cervical cancer and 9 more receive a life-changing diagnosis. Around 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK each year and approximately 700 women die from the disease – around two deaths every day.

Cervical screening can stop cancer before it starts by checking the health of the cervix and prevent any potentially harmful cells from developing.

The NHS Cervical Screening Programme has made a significant impact on cervical cancer mortality since it was established in 1988 and screenings save an estimated 5,000 lives per year, which is why it’s vital we all support and encourage women to attend. However, the concern is that one in three women don’t attend their smear test appointments.

The Screening Programme: 

For England and Northern Ireland – women get a cervical screening invitation every 3 years if aged 25 to 49. After that, an invitation is received every 5 years until age 64. For Wales and Scotland women get a cervical screening invitation every 5 years if aged 25 to 64.

Cervical screening samples are tested for types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer.

Testing for HPV first, rather than looking at the cells down a microscope (cytology), is proven to be a more sensitive test. It will help to find more women with cervical cell abnormalities that may need treatment. HPV testing will help to prevent more cases of cervical cancer. From 1 January 2022, screening changed for low risk women from 3 to 5 years because the test used in cervical screening changed with the new test which is known as HPV primary screening and is more accurate at detecting who is at higher risk of developing cervical cancer. This means the intervals for those not at high risk can be safely extended from 3 to 5 years.

About the campaign:

It’s not unusual for women to feel a bit uneasy about going to their cervical screening, however the thought is normally worse than the reality. The campaign seeks to put minds at ease and reassure women that screenings are nothing to be worried about and can stop them developing cervical cancer. The campaign focuses on the important relationships in women’s lives, reminding them of all the people that want them to be healthy and well.

Target audience:

The target audience is all eligible women aged 25 – 64, and in particular women aged 25 – 35 as they are the least likely to currently book their cervical screening check. There are also some small sub-groups who are disproportionately less likely to participate – including women from ethnic minorities, people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and lesbian and bisexual women. The campaign aims to include all groups.

The campaign:

  • Highlights and reminds women of the risk of cervical cancer.

  • Highlights the importance and preventative benefits of screening and the often misunderstood screening test.

  • Dispels feelings of unease or embarrassment around getting screened.

  • Encourages women to respond to their cervical screening invites.

  • Encourages women to consider booking an appointment if they have missed previous invitations

  • Aims to tackle barriers to screening highlighted by research, issues such as fear and embarrassment.

  • Shares helpful advice on what to expect during a screening and tips on how to make it a more comfortable experience.

Campaign call to action:

  • Cervical screening saves lives – encourage the people that you know and love to get screened if they are overdue a test.

  • Don’t ignore cervical screening invitations.

  • If you or someone you know has missed their last screening, book an appointment with the GP practice now.

  • For further information, please visit uk/cervicalscreening.

Why support for the campaign is needed:

The more women we can encourage to get their screening done, the better. That’s why we need everyone’s help to spread the word.

Campaign Resources:

Downloadable, printable campaign resources and information are attached including posters, booklets, leaflets etc., and further resources and campaign materials are available from:-

Branches, Regions and Regional Health and Safety Committees can either download or order more materials from this site should they need to.

‘Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to women, their families and friends affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. As Branches and Regions will know the CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department first established a close working relationship with ‘Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’ in 2009 and has worked with the charity and supported their campaigns since then and proudly we were the only Trade Union listed with our Logo on their ‘Time To Test’ supporter’s page.

The CWU has been active in campaigning on this issue for years, supporting Cervical Screening Awareness Week and we will be supporting it again this year, continuing our strong working links with ‘Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’ as we have done in the past, supporting their ‘Time to Test’ campaign, ‘Put Yourself in The Picture’ campaign, and their ‘Smear For Smear’ campaign. CWU are registered supporters of the ‘Time to Test’ campaign with the CWU Logo on the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust Website.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust was established in 1999 by James Maxwell after his wife Jo passed away from cervical cancer. Jo’s Trust have thanked CWU for its support and we intend to continue that working relationship.

Contact Details for Further Information, Resources and Helpline:

Address: Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust 10-18 Union St, London SE1 1SZ

Phone: 020 3832 8000Helpline: 0808 802 8000

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust Helpline – 0808 802 8000

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s freephone Helpline is manned by volunteers who’ve had personal or professional experience of cervical cancer or cervical abnormalities and are trained in telephone helpline skills. The Helpline offers listening, support and information.

Further information and support can be found at:


Cervical Screening Campaign and General Information Posters, Booklets, leaflets, Fact Sheets.

We hope all Branches and Regions will support this important campaign.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce

National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

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