Over half a million people sign petition against cervical cancer screening extension

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MORE than half a million people have signed a petition in protest over the decision to extend the gap between cervical screening tests in Wales from three years to five.

As of 1 January, women and those with a cervix aged between 25-49 in Wales will now have to wait five years instead of the previous three for routine checks.

According to Cervical Screening Wales, the extension is due to the success of testing for Human papillomavirus (HPV), and rollout of the HPV vaccine in secondary schools.

However, the change has been met with concern and outrage from many women across the UK.

The change.org petition.
The petition has gained over 500,000 signatures.

Public Health Wales apologized today for not having “done enough to explain changes” to cervical screenings and causing “concern” among women.

Rachel Paul started the Change.org petition two days ago that now has over 600,000 signatures.

Rachel said: “On average 3197 cases of cervical cancer are discovered each year with 854 deaths between 2016-2018, with only 51% surviving this type of cancer for more than 10 years.

“99.8% of cervical cancer cases are preventable (according to cancer research UK).

“INCREASING THE LENGTH OF TIME BETWEEN CERVICAL SCREENING IS PUTTING LIVES AT RISK!”

Some backing the campaign have left comments in support of the petition.

Patricia Precee said: “I’m signing because my 42-year-old sister-in-law died from cervical cancer.

“It is very important to have smears and be able to catch the early onset of cancer so more women can survive.”

Nicky Fowler said: “Women have a right to have a smear every three years, [and] they should lower the age to 18 as well.”

Tan Hutchison said: “I had been begging my doctor to test me from 16 (have female cancer run in the family) but always got the response ‘you’re too young to have this’.

“Well November of 2020 I was told the news…’you have cervical cancer’.

“I warned them. Nobody listened. We need a younger age and a yearly test for this.”

Lianne Snelson said: “As someone who has had abnormal cells in the past, the idea of five yearly screening is simply terrifying AND dangerous.”

Rachel Paul, who set up the petition.
Rachel Paul set up the petition.          (C) Rachel Paul

Last year the husband of a young mother who died from cervical cancer aged just 30 urged the government to give women yearly smear tests.

Andrew Mathewson from Kelso in the Scottish Borders has been campaigning so that all women can get annual smear tests, instead of waiting up to five years.

The HPV vaccine was first rolled out in the UK on September 1st, 2008, offering it to girls aged 12-13.

The success of the roll-out and the vaccine has cut cases of cervical cancer by almost 90%.

Scotland already has five-year gaps in testing for 25–64-year-olds, while England offers a test every six months for under 25s, a test every three years for those aged 25-49, and a test every five years for 50–64-year-olds.

According to Cancer Research, around 850 people die from cervical cancer in the UK every year – working out at more than two every day.

When diagnosed at its earliest stage, more than nine in 10 people will survive their disease for one year or more, compared with one in two (50%) people when the disease is diagnosed at the latest stage.