LONDON, June 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
- Launch of 'my diary from down under' by Nikki Bayley
In the UK, 20 per cent of women still do not attend smear tests, putting themselves at risk of leaving pre-cancerous cervical cells undetected[i]. A new blog, entitled, 'my diary from down under', aims to help dispel many of the myths surrounding having a smear with the aim of putting women at ease and encouraging more women to attend their cervical screens when invited.
Nikki Bayley, healthcare writer and journalist, will be tracking and blogging her real life "journey" of having a smear from the moment she picks up the phone and makes an appointment, until the results land on her doorstep. As she is passionate about encouraging women to take responsibility for their own health, Nikki is launching the blog to raise awareness of cervical cancer and the importance of screening.
'I completely understand why many women don't go for a smear. It may not seem to be a priority, or women may be worried about the results and not exactly relish the thought of the procedure itself. I put off making my smear appointment when I was recently invited, which I am not proud of, so now I have decided to share my experience with others in the hope of highlighting the benefits and dispelling some of the myths, whilst helping women to overcome any concerns,' says Nikki.
Around one thousand women die of cervical cancer in the UK each year[i]. It is estimated that early detection through cervical screening and subsequent treatment can prevent up to 75 per cent of cervical cancers from developing in the UK[i].
The current system of cervical cancer screening, introduced in the late 1980s throughout the NHS, is aimed at women across the UK aged 20 to 65 years. Women are invited to attend screening every three or five years depending on age, and the system operates on a recall basis if the smear appears abnormal.
The link between cervical cancer and infection from the human papillomavirus (HPV) is widely recognised. Persistent HPV infection can lead to the development of pre-cancerous and cancerous cells in the cervix.
Paul Eros, director of molecular diagnostics at leading healthcare company, Roche, sponsors of the blog, said: 'Latest scientific research from around the world indicates that testing for HPV is a surer method of pinpointing high-risk cases of cervical pre-cancer since the virus is associated with >99.7 per cent of all cervical cancer. Currently, the screening programme does not test on a routine basis for the presence of HPV. Doing so could lead to better detection of those women at risk. Also, women who are not at risk benefit from attending screens less often, leading to cost and efficiency savings for the NHS.'
'It is important to note' stressed Paul Eros, 'that HPV testing still involves women going for their screens and this is a very clear message in the blog. What is different, is the way in which the sample is analysed.'
Nikki adds, 'These innovations are good news for the future but women won't be able to benefit if they don't attend their smear in the first instance. I want to highlight in my blog that the smear only takes a few minutes and, yet, it could save your life.'
Robert Music, director, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust said, 'We welcome this blog as an innovative way to remind women how essential it is to attend cervical screening when they are invited under the current national screening programme. We know that HPV testing has the ability to identify those women at risk of cervical pre-cancer at an earlier stage and it is great to see that this technology is going to be introduced in England for women with mild or borderline results. Concurrently, however, we must all work hard to increase awareness through channels like this blog and Cervical Screening Awareness Week, to remind women how vital it is to attend their cervical screen. This is evermore important, highlights Robert Music, 'as most recent screening statistics have shown a fall in the number of women taking up their invitation for screening.'
Nikki's Blog is supported by Roche.
About human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer
Cervical cancer causes approximately 1,000 deaths each year in the United Kingdom and is the most common cancer in females under 35[[ii]]. Persistent infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is the principal cause of cervical cancer in women, with HPV implicated in greater than 99 percent of cervical cancers worldwide. Of the more than 118 different types of HPV, 14 types are currently considered high-risk for the development of cervical cancer and its precursor lesions. HPV types 16 and 18 have been identified as the highest risk genotypes, detected in approximately 70 percent of cervical cancers. Nucleic acid (DNA) testing is a sensitive method for determining the presence of a cervical HPV infection.
About the cobas(R) HPV Test and cobas(R) 4800 System
The Roche cobas(R) HPV test is a new generation of HPV testing which simultaneously detects in one pass, 12 high-risk HPV types (HPV types 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66 and 68) as a pooled result, as well as HPV genotypes 16 and 18 individually.
Roche launched the cobas(R) 4800 HPV Test with CE Approval in 2009.
About Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust - http://www.jostrust.org.uk
Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust (Jo's Trust) is the only UK charity dedicated to women and their families affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. They offer information, support and friendship to women of all ages, to help them to understand the importance of cervical screening, and to provide support if their screening shows up abnormalities or if they are diagnosed with cancer.
Cervical Screening Awareness Week is 6th-12th June 2011. Supported by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, the week is designed to raise public awareness of cervical cancer prevention.
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world's largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche's personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2010, Roche had over 80,000 employees worldwide and invested over 9 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information: http://www.roche.com and http://www.roche.co.uk
All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are protected by law.
[i] Source: Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust
[ii] Source: NHS Cancer Screening Programme. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35 in the UK.