A new cervical screening campaign to boost awareness of regular testing to prevent cancer is launching in Trafford for Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.

The campaign "Don’t Fear Your Smear" starts today, Monday, and will see health experts at Trafford council working in tandem with Trafford Integrated Care Partnership.

They say more than 70 per cent of cervical cancers can be prevented by having routine smear tests.

A smear test is a routine health check-up that only takes a few minutes but can save lives, so council chiefs.

The  campaign focuses on reassuring anyone that may feel apprehensive about attending their smear test, including things that can be done to help with relaxation, or how to discuss concerns before attending.

Cllr Jane Slater, the council’s executive lead for health, wellbeing and equalities, said: “It is important that you attend your appointment so that any pre-cancerous cells can be detected and treated early as prevention can be lifesaving.

“We know people may feel nervous about attending their appointment, but there are things than can be done to help reduce these concerns.

"Talk to your GP, your practice nurse or staff at the practice ahead of making the appointment, they will be able to advise on strategy’s to support you.

“Cervical cancer screening is the most effective way we can prevent cervical cancer – attending your smear test can really save your life.”

Women, and people with a cervix, aged 25 to 49, will be invited every three years for a test. It is every five years for those aged 50 to 64.

Cllr Slater added: “I would encourage anyone in Trafford to attend their smear test when they receive their invitation. If anyone thinks they may have missed an appointment, please contact your GP as soon as possible.

“We hope the Don’t Fear Your Smear campaign will help to further raise awareness across our borough, and help people feel more at ease about attending their appointment.”

Dr Farrah Sheikh, GP at Delamere Medical Practice in Stretford, said: “I’d strongly advise anyone who has received a reminder in the post to get their smear tests booked in as soon as possible. Don’t let it slip to the back of your mind.

"It’s a simple test that can be done at your local GP practice and it’s usually done by a nurse.

“A lot of people can feel quite nervous getting it done due to embarrassment but most of the nurses who are carrying it out have had it done themselves and will be able to put you at ease.

"A check could pick up early changes in the cells that could potentially be life-saving.”