Video: Improving cancer screening communications

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Centre for Decision Research

Yasmina Okan is Cancer Research UK Fellow, an Associate Professor in Behavioural Decision Making and a member of the Centre for Decision Research (CDR). Yasmina’s research focuses on the psychology of judgment and decision making, with an emphasis on health risk perception and communication. This work is being funded by a Cancer Research UK Population Research Fellowship (reference C57775/A22182).

Yasmina Okan

What is cervical cancer screening?

Cervical screening (which used to be called the ‘smear test’) aims to prevent cervical cancer from developing. In most of the UK, this currently involves taking a small sample of cells from the cervix. The sample is sent to a laboratory and checked for abnormalities. Abnormal cells are not cancer, but they could develop into cancer if they are left untreated.

The NHS offers cervical screening to all women aged 25 to 49 every 3 years and to all women aged 50 to 64 every 5 years.

Helping people understand information about the cervical screening

In this video, Dr Yasmina Okan explains her research examining how people make decisions about their health, the first results from her Cancer Research UK Fellowship project, and what she’ll be investigating next.

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The NHS cervical screening programme is now in the process of introducing human papillomavirus (HPV) primary screening. This means that cells will be first tested for HPV. This type of screening is already available in Wales, and is being piloted in parts of England. The information leaflet sent to eligible women in England is hence being updated, and Yasmina is sharing her findings with Public Health England to improve the design of the new leaflet and support informed screening uptake.

You can read more about the cervical screening process in England in the NHS cervical screening: helping you decide leaflet (translated into 16 languages and audio version available).

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