Superdrug launches gynaecological cancer awareness consultations

As many as 50% of those eligible for a cervical cancer screening have missed their appointments in certain parts of London (Picture: Getty Images)

Health news for the last year has been dominated by the pandemic – but that doesn’t mean other health issues should be put on the backburner.

And yet, for a rising number of people eligible for a cervical cancer screening, this has become the case.

In response to data showing that as many as 50% of women and those with a cervix are missing their screenings, Superdrug have launched a gynaecological cancer awareness programme.

It will run across all of its London health clinics as they reveal that in the capital these are the percentages of women not attending screenings in areas with a Superdrug Health facility:

  • 53.8% Central London 
  • 49.4% Shepherd’s Bush
  • 43.7% Stratford 
  • 39.2% Ealing
  • 36.2% East Ham

The reasons for why these appointments have been missed vary, as a separate study released earlier this year by The Eve Appeal shows that people believe cervical cancer checks are not a priority, or have been worried about catching coronavirus.

Regardless of the reason, Superdrug, along with charity The Lady Garden Foundation, are looking to plug a knowledge gap to help people improve their awareness of cervical cancer.

They say the programme will ‘encourage conversations and give insights on the five gynaecological cancers’, as well as signs, symptoms and the importance of screening attendance.

Although the problem isn’t London-centric, as 30% of women under the age of 50 nationwide don’t attend their screening appointments.

Caris Newson, head of healthcare services at Superdrug says: ‘Superdrug has 80 health clinics, and 1 in 3 women under 50, and 1 in 4 women over 50 are not attending their cervical screening in the areas where these Superdrug clinics are located.

‘We and our qualified nurses and pharmacists hope this will be the start of more conversations and more checks around the UK.’

The way it works is the next time a patient attends an in-clinic service appointment, a nurse or pharmacist will offer them a discussion on gynaecological cancers.

Patients will also be offered a symptom tracker, which once completed they can then show to their GP.

Of the five different gynaecological cancers there isn’t one single screening test available for them all, which is why they want the programme to increase awareness.

Superdrug say: ‘Often symptoms can be subtle and misattributed so having confidence in your own body and recognising when something isn’t right is crucial.’

Jenny Halpern Prince, co-founder and chair at The Lady Garden Foundation, adds that they ‘hope to reach more women and create awareness amongst generations who aren’t talking about these issues.’

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