Fears up to 600,000 women are at risk of cancer going undetected

We all knew there was going to be a situation of beds being emptied and surgeries cancelled, on top of that those who might need screenings for cancer checks are losing out.

Sadly, the casualty count of non-COVID will be ignored at this time and years from now people will ask “why didn’t we say something?”. A bit late for those who have already died to something that has no association with COVID itself.

Article below from the Daily Mail…

The cancellation of cervical cancer checks because of Covid pressures is putting women’s lives at risk, a senior MP and charities have warned.

Tory MP Caroline Nokes, who chairs the Women and Equalities Select Committee, said that check-up cancellations and women’s fears of attending GP clinics during the pandemic could mean up to 600,000 women miss out on getting a smear test. 

She warned against women’s medical issues being ‘pushed to the back of the proverbial queue’.

It comes as Marina Wheeler, Boris Johnson’s ex-wife, said women should not put off cervical screening during the pandemic because the ‘consequences of not going can be so great’. 

Ms Wheeler told The Daily Telegraph her own cancer was spotted early thanks to a routine smear test.

During the first national lockdown, smear test services were paused in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as in some practices in England. The Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust charity estimated 600,000 fewer tests than normal were carried out last April and May.

Ms Nokes, who raised the subject with the Prime Minister last week, said she was concerned a similar number of tests could be cancelled or missed during this lockdown.

Writing in The Mail on Sunday ahead of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, Ms Nokes says: ‘Is it because cervical cancer is exclusively a female cancer that it seems to be OK to not carry them out “at the moment”? I felt real hope that predominantly female cancers were not going to be forgotten during the pandemic. But apparently my optimism was misplaced.’

Roz Chadd, a Conservative councillor in Hampshire, was last week told by her local GP surgery that she could not have a smear test. She said she was worried women were being ‘forgotten’.

Dr Jodie Moffat, Cancer Research UK’s head of early diagnosis, said: ‘It’s concerning to hear reports that cervical screening is being cancelled in some parts of the country again. In the first wave, decisions to pause screening in England were made locally in the absence of national guidance.

‘This time, NHS England should provide clear guidance based on expert advice to ensure there is a consistent approach across the country, instead of certain areas making their own decision.’

Women are invited to have smear tests every three years between the ages of 25 and 49, and then every five years until they reach 65.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: ‘While it is not ideal if you can’t get a test, and you may be feeling worried, cervical cancer takes many years, not months, to develop and remains rare. It’s unlikely that it would develop in the time that your appointment is delayed. If you think you’re experiencing symptoms of cervical cancer, whether you are waiting for a test, up to date, or have never been, contact your GP.’

A spokesman for the NHS said: ‘The NHS guidance that cervical screening should continue has not changed and this has been communicated to GP practices.’