Cervical Cancer in the UK Essay

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Cervical Cancer in the UK Essay

Cervical Cancer in the UK Essay

Research question

What policies and measures have been instituted in the UK to prevent and treat cervical cancer among adult women, how effective they are, and how can they be improved?


Carrieri and Bilger (2013 p.543) have defined cervical cancer as “cancer of the entrance to the uterus (womb). The cervix is the narrow part of the lower uterus, often referred to as the neck of the womb”. The intraepithelial neoplasia and cancer of the cervix is predominantly found in adult women above the age of thirty and has been connected with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is one the strongest epidemiologic risk factors (Bosch, Lorincz, Munoz, Meijer, & Shan 2002).

Cervical cancer is one of the most common diseases affecting women and has a significant amount of lethal outcomes. However, modern healthcare allows women to take steps to prevent cervical cancer, and if more attention is focused on the issue, new ways to improve the situation can be discovered.Cervical Cancer in the UK Essay

In the UK, the government and other stakeholders have been actively introducing policies aimed at developing effective detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention mechanisms. These policies propose the methods that could prevent the disease before it even occurs (primary prevention) and reduce its impact if it had already occurred (secondary prevention), at the national, local, and personal levels (Wu 2008).

Since, in the past, a lot of research was focused on the secondary prevention methods, this study aims to conduct extensive research on the effectiveness of the policies and measures aimed at preventing cervical cancer among adult women altogether.

 To answer the research question of this study, this paper will focus on policies and measures implemented by the government healthcare agency responsible for cervical cancer management. It will also analyze secondary data collected from journals, government sites, and other literature.
Background and Rationale

In the last twenty years, the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cervical cancer have notably developed in the UK as a result of the government’s active involvement with the issue. As a result of these measures policies, measures and generally improved healthcare research-based approaches, the amount of annual cases of this type of cancer has almost halved, going from 5,132 women in 1988, to 2,368 in 2008 (Cervical Cancer Incidence and Screening Coverage n.d.)

1988 was an important year for the fight against cervical cancer because it marked the introduction of the first cancer screening program for women, which eventually evolved into the National Health Service (NHS) Cervical Screening Program, introduced by the government in 2015 as part of an overall Population Screening Program. Carrieri and Bilger described the cervical screening as “a method of preventing cancer by detecting and treating abnormalities of the cervix” (2014 p. 245).Cervical Cancer in the UK Essay

Consequently, this is primarily a preventive policy, and its purpose is to fast track the process of screening adult women who are at risk of getting the type of cancer in question. The women aged 25-64 years are encouraged to attend free cervical cancer screenings in state-owned hospitals around the country. To increase awareness, the department managing cervical cancer develops documentaries and social advertising, and regularly alerts women through various means, about regular screenings. Under the policy, the women between the age of 25 and 49 are eligible for the screening every three years, and women aged 50 and above are invited every 5 years (Carrieri & Bilger 2013).

The effectiveness of this primary prevention program is monitored by the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC), which has been mandated by the government with the duty of assessing the results and develops recommendations for the government. The main screening tests offered under the policy include cervical cytology and human papillomavirus.

Early cervical cytology is suggested as a quicker way of detecting cancer, but it is not always recommended due to the diagnosis delays which can lead to women being symptomatic before the results are produced (Landy, Castanon, Dudding, Lim, Hollingworth, Hamilton, & Sasieni 2015). In total, it has been estimated that, under current laws, more than 90% of adult women in Great Britain have reported undergoing a cervical smear or a mammogram, with only 2 to 4% never having had either (Moser, Patnick, & Beral 2009).Cervical Cancer in the UK Essay

Using the above testing methods to examine the adult women in terms of their exposure to cervical cancer can lead to early detection, which increases the effectiveness of the treatment and increases the chances of a complete recovery of the patient.

 Another vital policy that regulates treatment and prevention of cervical cancer is the Cervical Cancer Program. It is also managed by the National Health Service and targets HPV as one of the primary causes of the problem. One of its primary achievements was the implementation of the Gardasil vaccine, which “protects against four types of HPV, including two strains responsible for more than 70% of cervical cancers in the UK (HPV16 and HPV18)” (Sepabes & Feinstein 2006, p. 3008).

The final measure that is relevant to the topic is the Stop Smoking Service. This is another preventive policy that encourages adult women to engage in positive lifestyle behaviors and give up bad habits like smoking, which increases the risk of cancer.

A very interesting aspect of the situation in the UK, is that while there are members of the adult female populace who do not screen themselves, the statistics for regular screenings are very high, and understanding the exact reasons might be very useful for building promotion campaigns for other types of screenings, However, the current state of the voluntary screening participation also reflects a tendency towards static, as the numbers have been mostly steady over the years, with the same percentages of non-participating women (Whynes, Philips & Avis 2007).Cervical Cancer in the UK Essay

However, while a lot of the issues are being addressed, there are still a number of issues that are plaguing this area of health care. First of all, there are still chances of inaccuracy in the screening process, which may cause a woman to repeat the check, or even provide false results, causing a significant amount of mental distress. If the healthcare practitioners were unable to read the data from the sample, the patient may have to undergo it again. However, they will first have to experience a three-month hiatus (Cervical cancer screening n.d.)

Aim and Objectives

The primary aim of this research paper is to analyze the existing research, literature, and health policies in order to achieve a better understanding of the country’s cervical cancer primary prevention methods for adult women, their strengths and weaknesses, and contemplate how they can be improved. This paper also studies the secondary prevention methods, which address the situation of women already diagnosed with cervical cancer and how it is treated and mitigated.

The main objectives of the research study are summarized as:

  1. To assess cervical cancer prevention policies and measures in the UK.
  2. To analyze the measures aimed at managing and supporting adult women diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK.
  3. To use the collected data to suggest improvements to the current cervical cancer policies and measures.
  4. Make projections for the future.Cervical Cancer in the UK Essay
Literature Search

A literature search is a diligent and systematic search of all types of published literature for the purpose of building an array of high-quality references that are relevant to the purpose of the paper. Conduction a literature search will allow a better, more current understanding of the situation in the British healthcare industry in relation to prevention, mitigation, and treatment of cervical cancer in women above thirty. It would also help identify the past and current research findings into the topic, how they compare to this one, and what are the gaps in their findings and methods.

The studies of interest can be roughly divided into those which help create a better understanding of cervix cancer, particularly in Britain, the ones dealing with primary preventive care in Britain, and the research works and publications focusing on secondary preventive care.Cervical Cancer in the UK Essay

The literature search would begin with background reading and preparation, in order to deepen the understanding of the subject. It is likely that during this state the seminal article or a book upon which content will be drawn will be discovered. Currently Carrieri and Bigger’s Preventive care: underused even when free. Is there something else that works?” fills this niche. Following this, the principle search terms and items will need to be identified, which will help broaden the scope of the search.

These will include relevant authors, concepts, names of policies, legislation, and organizations in conjunction with the key terms. The key terms of the paper are “cervical cancer”, “adult women”, and “Britain”, including the variations of the name. Others include “policy”, “measures”, “prevention”, “mitigation”, “treatment”, and “healthcare”.

The literature will be searched primarily on Google, Google Scholar, and Google Books search engines, as well as available online libraries, and databases such as JSTOR and Academic Search Complete.

The paper will refrain from using literature concerning specifically younger females, focusing on tertiary disease prevention (rehabilitation), and more direct interventions (like surgery or chemotherapy). Finally, the research leaves out literature written before 2000 and will focus on the materials published in the last 5-10 years, unless an article has a recognized value and is referred to in the more recent publications (Faculty Librarians 2012).Cervical Cancer in the UK Essay