Health Matters

Lockdown might have meant we’ve started to get on top of the Coronavirus, but it may mean people haven’t been seeking treatment and check-ups for other important health issues.

As we start to ease back into a new kind of normal, it’s time to start catching up on taking care of ourselves in other ways than popping a year’s worth of Vitamin C pills in three months.

Because whilst we’ve been so busy focusing on staying virus-free, there are other potential health issues we need to keep paying attention to.

June 15 – 21 is both Men’s Health Week and Cervical Screening Awareness Week, the latter organised by Jo’s Trust, a charity that supports women affected by cervical cancer.  

It’s timed perfectly to nudge any of us who might have ignored our smear test invite letters – or been unable to go for a check-up during lockdown – to make sure we’re getting it done.

Cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer in women under 35, with two women a day dying from the disease.

According to Jo’s Trust, regular screenings can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancer cases, saving 5000 lives a year – yet a quarter of women don’t respond to their screening reminder.

I was just reading a heart-wrenching interview with Jeff Brazier, Jade Goody’s former husband, about her passing from cervical cancer and how tough it was with their two young sons. She died just a week after telling them she was ill, and Jeff was left a single dad raising two boys who’d lost their mother.

At the time in 2009 her death activated a surge in cervical screenings, as awareness was raised amongst young women who might otherwise have brushed it off as something that happened to someone else. But it’s easy to forget as time passes.

We don’t have to let silent killers like cervical cancer create more tragic stories like Jade’s, when there is so much support in place for prevention.

Cervical Screening Awareness Week aims to provide reassurance about the test and reduce any fears of embarrassment around it. Jo’s Trust is also keen to let women know that they can still get information and support around screening and test results during the pandemic.

There’s plenty of helpful information on their website about how screenings and coloscopies work during the Covid-19 crisis, so be sure to check it out and if you are due a screening then don’t put it off too long.

We all know that the test isn’t the most pleasant of experiences (I don’t know a woman who doesn’t wince at the thought of a speculum) but when it could be life-saving, the discomfort is worth it.  

So go dig that screening invite out from the bottom of the drawer and get yourself checked if it’s time…it’s one of the most important things you could do for your health.   

Get more information on Cervical Screening Awareness Week and how screenings are working during the pandemic here:

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