Allow women to attend cervical screenings during work


I am all in favour of raising the awareness of cervical - and testicular for men - cancer testing. However cervical smear tests and mammograms are - and should be - simply treated as normal GP or ...

Read More Carol H Scott
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GSK, Middlesbrough Council and NHS England support a new campaign to raise awareness of cervical cancer

A quarter (26%) of women would be more likely to attend cervical cancer screenings if their company was more flexible and they didn't have to take holiday for an appointment, according to research from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

The Trust also found 39% of those polled did not find it easy to leave work to attend an appointment.

The research has been conducted in conjunction with a new campaign, ‘Time to Test’, to raise awareness of cervical cancer in the workplace and allow female employees to attend screenings during the working day if they can't get an appointment outside work hours. The campaign is being supported by NHS England, Illamasqua, Middlesbrough Council, GSK, Irwin Mitchell, Action for Charity, Pelican Healthcare, APL Health, The & Partnership and Prospectus.

Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, warned that businesses should not be complacent when it comes to ensuring female staff can attend screenings.

“Worryingly the number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer each day has recently risen from eight to nine, and the number delaying or ignoring their cervical screening invitation is also rising year on year,” he said.

“We know from our research that for working women a barrier to screening is accessibility. Through Time to Test we hope to encourage businesses to promote cervical cancer prevention and ensure female staff have the time to get tested. We are delighted that so many companies have already joined the campaign and hope many more follow suit. Cervical screening is a five-minute test, but it could save a life.”

Cervical cancer is a preventable disease that claims three lives every day, according to the Trust. Cervical screening can detect abnormal cells before they become cancerous and prevents 75% of cervical cancers.


I am all in favour of raising the awareness of cervical - and testicular for men - cancer testing. However cervical smear tests and mammograms are - and should be - simply treated as normal GP or consultant appointments where work is concerned. they are both very quick procedures. Using the premise about needing to take a day's holiday for cervical screening, is this article actually saying that women have to take a day holiday for attended a Doctor's appointment?


I think this is just another way to pressure and embarrass women into screening, (they may not want) bowel cancer is much more likely, but we don't see anywhere near the same level of pressure to have bowel screening. I suspect it's because this always-fairly-rare cancer screening program requires huge numbers to screen to stand any chance of bringing down the already low incidence and death rate. Why is it there is apparently a bottomless pit when it comes to spending to promote cervical screening? Are we protecting women or the program? It's hard to understand when you know MOST women are HPV- and cannot benefit from cervical screening, but can be worried and harmed by false positives, excess biopsies, and over-treatment. About 95% of women aged 30 to 60 are HPV- and many are having unnecessary smear tests, exposing themselves to nothing more than risk. (see the Dutch evidence-based program: 5 HPV tests or HPV self-testing at ages 30,35,40,50 and 60 and a 5 yearly smear is only offered to the roughly 5% who test HPV+) Time to put these programs (breast and cervical) under independent review - is this the best use of health funds? If we follow the evidence and focus on those actually at risk, we could save a fortune with cervical screening, potentially save more lives and we'd see excess biopsies and over-treatment rates plummet. Also, these funds could then go into underfunded areas. I don't screen, HPV- women cannot benefit, end of story. I do not want to explain to an employer or workmates why I'm not heading off for a smear. If a woman wants to test, she'll sort it out, women (like men) should be respected as independent adults. Most of these ideas are, in my opinion, about numbers, not informed consent; that's inappropriate and disrespectful. Breast screening - I don't screen, an informed decision. The Nordic Cochrane Institute has an excellent summary of all of the evidence, it's not good, over-diagnosis and over-treatment are serious concerns. (head over to their website) The risks of breast screening exceed any benefit, as far as I'm concerned... The focus in women's cancer screening on numbers needs to change, it should be about the evidence and informed consent.

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