5 Minutes that Matter
Our campaign seeks to raise awareness of the importance of attending routine cervical screenings, and support more women to make an informed decision about whether or not to take up their invitations.
Cervical screening programmes have been impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown period. If you have questions or concerns about what this means for you, visit Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trusts’ website for the latest information and to access support and advice: https://www.jostrust.org.uk/information/coronavirus/faqs
Cervical screening checks the health of your cervix. While it’s not a test for cancer, regular cervical screening (also referred to as a ‘smear test’) is the best way for abnormal cells to be picked up early and treated (if necessary) to prevent cancer developing.
It is estimated that the test currently prevents 70% of cervical cancer deaths. However, this figure could be 83% if all eligible women attended. Cervical screening is a choice, and attendance is currently at a 21-year low.
Launched in 2019, our 5 Minutes that Matters campaign seeks to raise awareness of the importance of attending routine cervical screenings, and support more women to make an informed decision about whether or not to take up their invitations.
What we have achieved so far
WI members have been raising awareness of the importance of this issue and challenging myths surrounding cervical screening and cervical cancer, including by taking part in national awareness weeks and organising local events. Members have shared personal accounts of cervical screening to improve understanding and support others who may be going through similar experiences.
Between August and October 2020, we carried out a survey to understand attitudes towards cervical screening and sampling methods in England and Wales. All women and people with a cervix aged 25 and over were invited to take part.
The research showed strong support for HPV-self sampling, which is currently being trialled in England. It found that among those eligible for screening in the 25-64 age group, 67 per cent would like the option of home HPV tests, saying that a self-sampling kit would be more convenient.
Other figures showed that:
- 50 per cent said that a self-sampling kit would be less embarrassing
- 42 per cent said they would prefer to take a test at home
- 38 per cent said it would be less uncomfortable or painful
- 34 per cent said they would feel more in control
Download our research briefings:
- WI research on attitudes towards HPV self-sampling
- WI research on attitudes towards strategies that can improve uptake of cervical screening
- WI research on public awareness of the basic science behind cervical cancer
- WI research on the barriers to cervical screening and increasing uptake
How you can get involved
- Check out our campaign action pack to learn more about the issue and find out about other ways to participate. Download it here.
- Read and share our myth-busting flyer. Click here.
- Using our template letter, write to your Clinical Commissioning Group in England or Local Health Board in Wales to ask for their support in considering strategies to help improve uptake of cervical screening where capacity and the challenges of Covid-19 allow.
- Write to your MP to share the key findings of the WI’s 2020 research on cervical screening. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for template letters you can use.