Monday 07 June 2021
This year the Bailiwick's Cervical Screening Awareness Campaign will launch on 7 June 2021 and run for 3 weeks.
Based on the national campaign #WeAreAllSmearReady, the key messages for the Bailiwick's campaign this year are as follows:
- Cervical screening is free for anyone with a cervix (women, non-binary people, trans men and intersex people) aged between 25 and 65.
- There is a choice of providers - your GP, Choices and the Orchard Centre.
- Debunking the myths and misconceptions about cervical screening.
- Please don't ignore your screening appointment invitation.
In the Bailiwick, cervical cancer accounts for 1 to 2 deaths per year with an estimated 5 new cases diagnosed annually. It is reported that approximately 70% of people with cervical cancer have either never been screened or have not had regular screening. Free screening was introduced in 2019 when, the then, Committee forHealth & Social Care agreed to prioritise some of its budget to pay for this screening programme.
The target for cervical screening coverage stands at 80% for both age ranges. As of March 2021, the estimated coverage in the Bailiwick stands at 60% for 25-49-year olds and 63.5% for 50-65-year-old. This decline is mirrored nationally and is, to some extent, to be expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reducing the risk of cervical cancer is dependent on achieving a high uptake of cervical screening. Despite the effectiveness of cervical screening and the fact that it is now free, many of those who are eligible are missing their screening appointments.
In response to the reduced uptake of cervical screening, Public Health Services in partnership with Primary Care, Choices, Orchard Centre and Bright Tights, are running an island- wide campaign to increase cervical screening uptake.
Emily Davies, Public Health Practitioner said:
'There is a lack of understanding of cervical screening and a range of myths and misconceptions about what it involves. Our mission is to achieve a sustained increase in cervical screening for anyone with a cervix in order to reach the target of 80%.
This year we are working hard to ensure those who are eligible for screening make an appointment when they are invited to do so. Also, if someone has missed a screening appointment, please don't wait for another letter in 3 years' time. The service is free and could save your life.'
As a way of raising awareness, Choices in collaboration with Primary Care, The Orchard Centre and Bright Tights, are launching a 'Hang your Pants' and a 'Drop your Pants' craftivism campaign. This increasing common approach of combining a desire to change social behaviours and craft is a fun way of prompting discussion around a subject that is sometimes considered taboo.
Health Connections have kindly committed window display space in their Smith Street shop for 3 weeks from 7 June for visitors to pop in and decorate some pants to hang up in the window, take selfies and post on their social media feeds with the hashtags #WeAreAllSmearReady and #HangYourPants. Information will be available at Health Connections detailing where free cervical cancer screening is available in the Bailiwick.
Staff from Choices and the Guernsey Soroptimists will be crafting small pairs of pants in the form of badges, painted stones etc to place around the Island for people to pick up, take selfies and post on their social media feeds with the hashtags #WeAreAllSmearReady and #DropYourPants. Labels will be attached to the pants detailing where free cervical cancer screening is available in the Bailiwick.
In addition to the craftivism campaign, we will be sharing useful information for those who may find thinking about cervical screening difficult or have additional needs to be considered - for example people:
- with a learning disability.
- who are visually or hearing impaired.
- with a physical disability
- whose first language is not English