the cat that got the screen

The research was commissioned by the North West Cervical Screening Quality Assurance Reference Centre (NWCSQARC) seeking to increase the rate of young women attending cervical screening and to develop and extend the evidence base regarding the use of digital and social media in health promotion. In addition, funds were secured from Heywood Middleton and Rochdale PCT to increase the activity of the main campaign and develop a more focused study to understand the use of digital and social media with women from ethnic minorities.

Since screening began in the UK in the mid 1960s, and since 1988, when the NHS Cervical Screening programme was introduced, clear evidence points to the need for certain women to attend for screening at particular points in their lives. Yet, it remains the case that some women are not aware of the need to attend, feel unable to attend or choose not to attend, with the uptake of cervical screening by eligible women below 80% (The NHS Information Centre 2013). In particular, in 2011 when this research was conducted, women aged 25-29 group appeared to be less likely to attend for screening.

Deploying a digital media based campaign, this project aimed to increase the awareness, knowledge and con dence of 25-29 year old women with respect to cervical cancer, and the necessity for cervical screening, in order to improve cervical screening uptake. There were three key objectives:

  • Identify the current evidence base of strategies engaged to improve women’s awareness, knowledge, and confidence with respect to cervical cancer and cervical screening uptake.
  • Develop understandings of why women do and do not respond to screening invitations – speci cally as related to 25-29 year olds.
  • Develop, launch and continually evaluate a digital campaign regarding cervical cancer and cervical screening that will take account of the diversity women aged 25-29.

A full copy of the final report can be found here.