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By Newsdesk

Friday, July 13, 2012.

London, UK-  Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, Britain's only charity dedicated to people affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities, and the NHS National Cancer Action Team (NCAT) have jointly launched an advert to run in GP waiting rooms to target Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities following a survey suggesting a worrying lack of awareness around cervical cancer prevention amongst BME women.

Launching during Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Week (EMCAW), the advert is produced in partnership with NCAT’s ‘Cancer does not discriminate campaign’, which aims to increase cancer screening uptake and raise awareness of the early signs of cancer amongst people from black and minority ethnic communities. Carrying the message ‘cervical screening saves lives’ it will run in 30 surgeries for five months in areas with a higher BME population. This includes surgeries in London, Leicester, Leeds and Nottingham.

Research commissioned by the charity highlighted a level of misunderstanding from BME women around the subject of cervical cancer and the importance of cervical screening (smear) with only 65% of BME women in the survey believing the life saving test is a necessary one compared to 73% of white women. Similarly of those invited for screening, four times as many BME women as white women said ‘it did not seem relevant to me’. Results also showed a desire for more information with almost half of BME women in the survey (43%) calling for a more detailed explanation of the risks of not being screened.

Robert Music, Director of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “Our survey highlighted that in all areas of questioning BME women were considerably less aware of the issues surrounding cervical cancer prevention compared to white women and this alerted us to a need for a more targeted awareness drive amongst ethnic communities. With the cervical screening programme saving 5,000 lives in the UK each year, this lack of knowledge means BME women are less likely to attend their screening test putting their lives at risk.”
Paula Lloyd Knight, Associate Director Patient Experience, NCAT said that Cancer affects all communities and cervical cancer is one that can be prevented.

She said: “With strong evidence suggesting that BME women are less likely to take up their screening invitation and consequently present with symptoms when the disease is at a later stage the NHS is  delighted to be partnering with Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust to specifically reach those whose test has been missed or is overdue.”

For further information contact Maddy Durrant, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust on 020 7936 7498 / 07772 290 064 or email maddy@jostrust.org.uk

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