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New campaign debunks myths about cervical cancer and screening

Great British Bake Off star Laura Adlington is fronting a new cervical cancer campaign with This Morning’s Dr Nighat Arif to encourage younger Londoners to attend an NHS cervical screening appointment when invited.

The four NHS Cancer Alliances in London and charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust – who are launching the campaign during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week – say that only 60% of 25 to 49-year-olds living in London currently attend screening. The attendance is significantly higher for 50 to 64-year-olds living in London at 72%.

Cervical screening is offered to women and all people with a cervix, between the ages of 25 to 64. Screening helps prevent cervical cancer by checking for human papillomavirus (HPV.)

Although HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer, it is important to note that most cases of the virus do not result in a cancer diagnosis.

However, there are certain types of the virus that can cause abnormal cells to develop in the cervix, which can turn into cancer if left untreated.

The campaign aims to debunk common misconceptions about cervical cancer and screening.

For instance, it is often wrongly assumed that never having penetrative sex or having had only one sexual partner means you are not at risk of developing cervical cancer and exempt from screening. However, the virus can also be passed from skin-to-skin contact of the genital area, not just from penetrative sex, and can also stay in the body for a long time.

Laura Adlington and Dr Arif will star in a series of videos where they will be discussing the link between sex and cervical cancer and tackling common misconceptions about cervical screening. Shorter versions of the videos will also be streamed on the popular dating site Tinder and across social media (Instagram, TikTok and Snap Chat).

Attending screening when invited is the best way of preventing cervical cancer. To find out more about cervical screening and how to book an appointment, visit