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Wise Women Awards supports ‘cervical screening saves lives’ to encourage black women to attend cervical screening tests

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Attending your cervical screening appointment when you are due is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from getting cervical cancer. In fact, it can stop cancer before it starts and save your life. And that’s why founder of Wise Women Awards, Pastor Marjorie Esomowei, is encouraging all eligible black women to book their appointments as soon as they get their invite letters and attend when the day comes.

Around 2,600 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year and around 690 women die from the disease – that’s two deaths every day. It is estimated that if every woman in England attended screening regularly, 83% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented.

Pastor Marjorie says: “Women of all ethnic backgrounds are at risk of getting cervical cancer, so we shouldn’t think that it couldn’t happen to us. I was surprised to learn that two women die every day of cervical cancer in England when it is such a preventable disease.”

When asked in a recent survey whether they would take a test that could prevent cancer nine out of ten women said they would. So why is it that one in four women in England do not attend their cervical screening, a freely available test which could stop cancer before it starts?

Pastor Marjorie says: Research also shows that black women are less likely to attend their cervical screening. We need to change this. When I receive my invitation letter, I book my appointment straight away. I believe prevention is better than cure.

“Like many other women, I know that black women are nervous or embarrassed about the test and put off having it done. Some fear the test might be uncomfortable, but from my experience it’s not that bad and if you talk to the nurse about your concerns they will help put you at ease.

“Some black Christian women believe that the test is not needed because they are protected by God. My response to this is, yes, God does indeed protect us. However, we still use seatbelts in cars to protect ourselves in case of a car accident and it would be negligent not to. Likewise, cervical screening is a preventative measure to protect ourselves against getting cancer by identifying and preventing potentially harmful cells developing. Therefore, all eligible women should have the test.

“When Jesus was on earth He likened himself to a physician so He supports the work and advice of doctors and other health professionals. In fact, Luke His ‘disciple’ was a doctor and He was also in support of medical practice, so this should assure us that God is not against medical intervention.

“I am supporting the ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’ campaign. I hope that all black women will join me in ensuring you protect yourself and your loved ones against cervical cancer by responding to your cervical screening invitation letter and encouraging other women to do the same. So, if you are due or if you’ve missed your last screening, book an appointment at your GP practice today.”

For further information about cervical screening, please search ‘NHS Cervical Screening’ or visit www.nhs.uk/cervicalscreening