The number of people having cervical cancer screening could plummet following the closure of one of the UK’s leading charities, doctors warn.

Last week, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust closed after two decades due to financial difficulties.

The charity had been essential in encouraging uptake of the HPV vaccine and routine cervical cancer screening tests, which check for pre-cancerous changes – considered the best way to protect against the disease.

According to the latest figures, the number of women coming forward for the routine smear test has fallen to a record low following the Covid pandemic.

Now doctors say the NHS will struggle to push screening numbers up without the charity’s resources and campaigns.

Doctors fear that the number of people coming forward for cervical cancer screening could plummet following the closure of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust (file photo)

Doctors fear that the number of people coming forward for cervical cancer screening could plummet following the closure of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (file photo)

London-based GP Nisa Aslam called the closure ‘a huge loss for women’s health’, and said she often referred patients to the charity’s website for information, which she believes increased the chances of them getting tested. 

She added: ‘The closure will have a huge impact on the number of women being screened and getting early diagnoses.’

Professor Peter Sasieni, one of Britain’s foremost cervical cancer screening experts, said Jo’s Trust ‘will definitely be missed. It’s really tragic that the charity couldn’t keep going.’

The NHS declared its intention last year to annihilate cervical cancer by 2040. But NHS data in November showed that only 69 per cent of women aged 25 to 64 in England had a cervical screening in the previous year.

The NHS declared its intention last year to annihilate cervical cancer by 2040, but data showed that only 69 per cent of women aged 25 to 64 had come forward for screening (file photo)

The NHS declared its intention last year to annihilate cervical cancer by 2040, but data showed that only 69 per cent of women aged 25 to 64 had come forward for screening (file photo)

The test looks for changes to the cells in the cervix caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancers to develop.

Women aged 25 to 49 are offered screening every three years. Those 50 to 64 can get the test every five years.

If the early signs of cervical cancer are spotted, patients may undergo treatment to remove the abnormal tissue from the cervix.

According to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, early screening can prevent more than seven in ten diagnoses of the cancer.

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