An MSP who battled cervical cancer has now joined a campaign which aims to prevent the disease.

Cunninghame South MSP Ruth Maguire, has sponsored Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust as they look to improve education surrounding the disease.

It is all part of Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, which runs from January 23 to 29.

The ‘End Cervical Cancer’ campaign includes a drop-in event that will alert MSPs to statistics surrounding HPV vaccinations and cervical screenings in hopes of encouraging the government to help boost these numbers and eradicate the cancer.

Ms Maguire said: “Having been through cervical cancer myself I understand the impact this disease and the intense treatment needed has on women and their families, not just at the time of diagnosis and treatment but afterwards too.

“So, when Jo’s Trust asked me to get involved with their campaign to prevent cervical cancer I was delighted to say yes.

“Two women die every day in the UK from cervical cancer. With vaccinations and screenings we can prevent these deaths.

“I totally understand there are a number of reasons that women can find attending and having smear tests difficult and that for survivors of sexual violence it can be particularly hard.

“However, health professionals will be sympathetic to your needs and there are things that you can do to make yourself more comfortable, finding a way through that can be lifesaving.”

Maguire was diagnosed with stage three cervical cancer in April 2021 and took time off her duties as an MSP to focus on her treatment – returning to office in January 2022.

HPV vaccines alongside cervical screenings are vital for preventing and spotting signs of cervical cancer as 99.7 per cent of cases are caused by HPV.

In the Ayrshire and Arran area, 71.3 per cent of women aged 25-49 have had a cervical cancer screening but across Scotland this number drops to less than 70 per cent.

Chief Executive at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, Samantha Dixon, said: ”A world without cervical cancer is in our reach, and we want to get there as soon as possible.

“By raising awareness of cervical screening and HPV vaccination, we can help stop more women developing cancer before it starts.

“We can all play our part to do this and get closer to ending cervical cancer.”

Common symptoms of cervical cancer include bleeding in between periods or after sex, post-menopausal bleeding, unusual discharge, unexplained pain between hipbones, and pain during sex.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust provides information and support to anyone affected by cervical cancer and have a helpline on 0808 802 8000.