North-east mum backs campaign to increase number of women getting smear tests

Lisa McColl had a hysterectomy.

A mother-of-five who battled cervical cancer is backing a new NHS campaign which aims to increase the number of women going for cervical screening.

Lisa McColl, 40, from Muchalls, was diagnosed with cervical cancer eight years ago and underwent a hysterectomy as a result.

Related: 10 things about smear tests you’ve always wanted to know but were too embarrassed to ask

She says she hopes the new NHS campaign, which will launch later this year and is based on personal stories from local women who previously put off their tests, will be the push some need to go and get tested.

She said: “Having an advert based around personal testimonials is a great approach and I think it will be very effective in increasing the number of women going for their cervical screening.

“Someone’s experience is something you can’t really argue with or get around, it’s what happened to them and that’s it.

“It also creates a relatability, where women not going for screening see it’s normal to feel embarrassed, but that’s just part of it.

“My personal experience has made others around me more vigilant about getting checked, so hopefully this campaign will have the same affect on a bigger scale.”

This latest push by NHS Grampian to step up screening follows reports that the number of women going for testing is currently at a 10-year low, with cervical cancer deaths in Scotland up by a quarter.

A total of 116 women lost their lives in 2015, a rise from 88 in 2014.

Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said he is confident the NHS campaign will move survival rates in the right direction.

He added: “We are extremely supportive of the new campaign which is launching later in 2017, and hope this will help increase awareness.”

Anyone in the North-east who wants to take part in the new NHS awareness campaign should contact by tomorrow.