On The Agenda - New guidance for cervical cancer

In a nutshell New government guidance aims to help GPs identify symptoms and diagnose young women with cervical cancer early. It was launched last week and was produced after a working group of the Advisory Committee on Cervical Screening was set up to look at the management of young women with gynaecological symptoms.

Jade Goody: died from cervical cancer
Jade Goody: died from cervical cancer

- What will the guidance do?

The guidance provides GPs with an easy to follow algorithm to help with the management of young women and re-emphasises existing NICE guidelines about gynaecological symptoms.

- What is the background?

Reality TV star Jade Goody's death from cervical cancer last year attracted media attention. A row broke out after the Government refused to lower the cervical cancer screening age from 25 in England. Health minister Ann Keen said lowering the age could cause too many false positive results, leading to unnecessary and potentially harmful treatment.

- PR support

The new guidelines were given to The Times and Pulse magazine as 'exclusives' by the Department of Health's in-house press team. Cervical cancer charity Jo's Trust also put its weight behind the new guidance and director Robert Music spoke in its support.

- Media coverage

Alongside The Times and Pulse, the Daily Mail and BBC also covered the story. The Daily Mail turned the focus of its story at GPs, with the headline: 'GPs failing to give young women with cervical cancer symptoms full examinations'.

50 new cases of cervical cancer in 20- to 24-year-olds each year

5 up to five young women die of cervical cancer each year

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