By SEHERISH MAHMOOD

Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin has joined forces with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to raise awareness of how women can reduce the risk of the life-threatening disease.

The MP has pledged her support to the charity on Cervical Cancer Prevention Week to highlight the importance of cervical screening (smear tests).

Over 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the UK, yet it is one of the only cancers that can be prevented with the hopes of becoming a disease of the past.

Cervical screening is the best protection against the disease, followed by the HPV vaccine that is offered in schools. Yet the cervical screening uptake is at a 21-year low in England. It is at just 71.4%, meaning that more than one in four women are not booking a potentially life-saving test.

This week, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has published new research which has found young women who delay or don’t go for cervical screening feel scared (71%), vulnerable (75%) and embarrassed (81%) at the thought of going. A worrying two thirds (67%) say they would not feel in control at the prospect of a test.

Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin said: “Because fewer women are taking up the cervical screening invitation, more are now being given a devastating cancer diagnosis that could have been prevented.

“That’s why the work Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust do in raising awareness and accessibility is so important and I’m happy to support the charity however I can.

“Smear tests prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers developing, so it is deeply troubling to hear that so many women are not attending this test when invited, particularly due to embarrassment.”

“I’d urge all women not to let their fears or embarrassment put them off and get booked in without delay – it will take just a few minutes and it could save your life.”

Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “We are delighted to have Tracy Brabin MP’s support to help raise awareness about the importance of cervical screening.  Smear tests provide the best protection against cervical cancer yet we know they aren’t always easy.

“We want women to feel comfortable talking to their nurse and asking questions. It’s not making a fuss and there are many ways to make the test easier. Please don’t let your fears stop you booking a test.”

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week runs from 21-27 January 2019.