I almost thought that this writers block would never end but issues of late have given back that fire in my belly to share a thought.. Jess Bradford and Team Sorcha have both been driving campaigns to gain signatures on a petition to bring the subject of making cervical screening available to women under the age of 25 in UK. To enable this discussion to take place and stand a chance of being taken seriously by the British government 100,000 signatures are required. The population of United Kingdom is over 64million, over half of that is female. The amount of signatures required is equivalent to only 0.16% of the total population!
One May think, from seeing these figures, that this target of signatures is easily achievable bearing in mind that those females are all somebody's mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, granddaughter, aunt, niece, or cousin or maybe all of the above. When something that affects the health and future of so many people, shouldn't we take a second to add a signature which costs nothing but potentially achieves so much... Clearly this is not the case as there are only a few days left to reach this target and both still have some way to go.
My opinion is that there are two things wrong in the society we live and with the people being targeted to support this cause.
The first is awareness of the cause. How many people actually understand the seriousness of cervical cancer and what an integral part screening plays in the prevention or early detection of the disease? Cervical Cancer is on the rise and is reported to affect older women more so than younger. For this reason our government see fit to empower doctors to refuse girls under the age of 25, in England and Wales, a cervical screening test wether they have symptoms or not. Due to this late stage cancerous cells are going undetected and allowed to grow into tumours which when finally detected, at the first smear or when the symptoms are so severe the smear is used as a last resort, leaving these young women to face invasive surgery or chemo/radio therapy. What is the reason? Because they are part of a low statistic and therefore are not given access to basic human rights. I am sure that if this was common knowledge amongst our target audience they would certainly give a second to sign their name.
One other point which I find completely contradictory to the union of England and Scotland is the double standards of this shared government. The whole point of this union is surely to follow the same standards, laws and legislations? Why then is the national screening age in Scotland 20 years old yet England has not been adjusted to show consistency between two countries under one government.
The other reason is priorities. In a world saturated by celebrity interest the main issues like health and well being of the regular people takes a back seat. Jeremy Clarkson received over one million names on a petition over the most ridiculous issue last week. Has the world gone mad?! These causes have been campaigning for almost a year to barely reach one thousand signatures yet some accused racist individual gets more attention in one week. Maybe Mr Clarkson might want to redeem himself by using his celebrity status to do something kind, useful and humane and publicly support and raise awareness to the campaigns for female health improvements within his own country?
I see many celebrities involved in fund raising events and TV shows which mainly focus on helping people dealing with cancer and other disease. I remember seeing a young girl having extensive, painful, intrusive brachytherapy to treat her cervical cancer on one of these shows. If a celebrity was involved or linked to the campaigns to lower the screening age maybe we could smash those targets. The most frustrating part is that cervical can be detected from a small swab to avoid its progression. The treatment for cervical cancer can be unbearable, then you have the chance of metastases or recurrence in other organs and All of this can be avoided in most cases if detected sooner!
I urge anyone to consider your priorities and pay attention to what's important..