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L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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Raising awareness of cervical cancer

21 January 2014

Jersey is taking an active part in European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, which runs from 19 to 25 January 2014.

The Island’s Public Health team are aiming to raise awareness about:

  • the importance of regular cervical screening to prevent cancer
  • possible symptoms that may be associated with cervical cancer
  • the value of the HPV vaccination that's given to girls in school year 8

Dr Susan Turnbull, Medical Officer of Health, said, “Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Before HPV vaccine was available, UK research showed 1 in 5 sexually active women aged 16 to 18 years in the UK were infected with HPV.

“Now, research in the UK is showing the incidence of HPV infections has fallen to 1 in 15. It is clear that this vaccine is preventing infection among young women, and will help us achieve our aim of reducing cervical cancer in Jersey.”

Dr Fiona Nelson, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, said “We want women in Jersey to become more savvy about cervical cancer and to know how to protect themselves – smear tests help to prevent eight out of ten cervical cancers from developing.”

Symptoms should prompt visit to GP

Dr Nelson also wants more women to be aware of symptoms that should prompt them to consult their GP. The symptoms that could be associated with the disease are:

  • abnormal bleeding after or during sexual intercourse, or between periods
  • post-menopausal bleeding
  • unusual or unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge
  • discomfort or pain during sex

Dr Nelson said, “Often women don’t have noticeable symptoms associated with abnormal cells and even with early stage cervical cancer. However, there are some symptoms that women should be aware of, although it should be noted that such symptoms can be associated with many other conditions that are not cancer related."

The Public Health team will be distributing information leaflets about cervical screening throughout the week.

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