The Number Of Women Attending Their Cervical Screening Is In Decline, But Here’s Why You Should Have This Life-Saving Test

cervical screening nhs

by Arianna Chatzidakis |
Updated on

The number of women attending cervical screenings has fallen to a 20-year low, with one in four eligible women (those aged 25 – 64) in the UK not attending their test. That's a pretty shocking statistic to swallow, considering that 2,600 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year, and around 690 of those women die from the disease.

There are a number of reasons why women aren’t getting screened, from feeling embarrassed or worried about the test to mistakenly thinking cervical screening is a test for cancer. But by not going when invited, millions of women are missing out on a potentially life-saving test. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and it's estimated that if everyone attended screening regularly, 83% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented.

How? Well, regular screening, which only takes a few minutes, can help stop cervical cancer before it starts. The test checks the health of your cervix and identifies potentially harmful cells before they become cancerous and ensures women get the right treatment as soon as possible. It’s estimated that cervical screening saves 5,000 lives a year.

cervical screening smear test nhs
Credit: Public Health England

We’re supporting Public Health England's new campaign ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’ which encourages more women to respond to their cervical screening invitation letter, and if they missed their last screening, to book an appointment at their GP practice.

Gynae Geek aka Dr Anita Mitra, an NHS Obstetrics & Gynaecology doctor, says: “Cervical screening is one of the most important ways we can prevent cervical cancer developing as no woman deserves to die from the disease. Many women I’ve come across put off screenings as they fear it will hurt or they feel embarrassed, but they shouldn’t. Healthcare professionals see this every day and there are simple ways we can make the test more comfortable such as advising on the best body position – just talk to your doctor or nurse.”

Cervical Screening Saves Lives. Don’t ignore your cervical screening invite and encourage the people that you love to get screened if they are overdue a test. Search ‘NHS cervical screening' or click here for more information. #CervicalScreeningSavesLives

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