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Portsmouth are working with the NHS to help young women prevent cervical cancer.
The Portsmouth Ladies football team is supporting Portsmouth City Teaching Primary Care Trust's local cervical cancer awareness campaign. The goal is to get more young women in the city to take up cervical screening and encourage girls eligible for the new HPV jab to get the vaccine.
The squad, aged between 16 and 26, have all got behind the campaign. The players posed for pictures at their home ground, Cams Alders in Fareham and the images will be used on posters to complement an outdoor advertising campaign for the HPV jab kicking off next week.
The HPV jab immunises girls against the virus that causes around 70% of cases of the disease. It is usually offered to year 8 girls at school, but is currently being targeted at 17 and 18 year olds as part of a catch up programme with GP surgeries that will extend to 16 to18 year olds from September.
Cervical screening detects early changes in the cervix which could lead to cancer if untreated. It's offered to women every three years from 25 to 50 and then every five years until they are 64. Even girls who have the jab as teenagers should get screened when they are older. Women need only to book an appointment with their GP practice to get screened.
"Women's health is really important and we're delighted to be able to help promote what young women in our local community can do prevent cervical cancer. We're real girls, talking about something we really believe in," said team captain Kirsty McGee.
The PCT's public health development manager Carolyn Watts is pleased the team is on board: "With busy lifestyles it's easy to not make enough time for your health, and put off something like a screening or a jab because you're embarrassed or scared. But it's important that all young women know about the risks to their health and make time for a visit to their GP or practice nurse that could save their life."
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