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*This article contains spoilers for tonight's episode of Coronation Street.*
Coronation Street fan or not, you will no doubt be pleased to hear that cervical screenings are on the up thanks to a recent storyline on the soap involving Sinead Osbourne's cancer.
Sinead, played by Katie McGlynn, was diagnosed with cervical cancer during her pregnancy on the soap and was faced with the heart-wrenching decision to either be treated straight away but terminate her baby, or wait until after the birth, delaying treatment.
Devoted to her unborn child, Sinead chooses to wait. Treatment initially seemed successful, but on her wedding day she finds a lump in her neck.
The following day, she heads to hospital, only to be told her cancer has spread to her lymph nodes and liver and she has just months to live.
Viewers watched Sinead try to come to terms with the news and husband Dan Osbourne deeply struggle with it, which no doubt resonated with people across the country. But the story served a purpose, encouraging women to get themselves screened.
And we're really pleased to hear it, because in 2018, statistics showed that women attending cervical screening was the lowest for at least 21 years, according to The NHS.
Just 69.1 per cent of younger women attended their screening in the expected time frame while 76.2 per cent of older women attended theirs.
This was blamed partially on unavailability of GP appointments, as well as the outsourcing of screening invites to a private company called Capita, lack of awareness, cuts to sexual health services and women being too worried about the intrusion.
But whatever the reason, it simply isn't good enough, especially since Cancer Research statistics show that although 99.8 per cent of cases cervical cancer could have been prevented in 2015, there were still 852 deaths.
ITV said in its report online: "Thanks to the work of writers and advisers, the soap opera has helped raised awareness of the cancer and the fact it can happen during pregnancy, something many were not aware of.
"Sinead was bleeding between her periods in the show, which is the main symptom of cervical cancer, which many hope will strike a chord with anyone worried about it."
But bleeding between periods isn't the only sign of disease to look out for.
According to Cancer Research, vaginal discharge, pain or discomfort during sex and pains in the area between the hip bones (pelvis), are other symptoms. And although their presence isn't always sinister, it's worth getting checked anyway.
But most importantly, it's vital to attend your cervical screenings straightaway, as it is a cancer that is easily prevented if caught in time.
ITV added in the report: "Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust has seen calls to its helpline grow over the course of the storyline, as well as starting numerous more private conversations."
Sounds like this storyline has come at the right time.
Head to Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust for more information.
Featured Image Credit: ITV
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