New research reveals that young women aged 25-49 across the East Riding of Yorkshire are less likely to attend a smear test in comparison to women aged 50-64.
In 2015 in East Riding only 78% of eligible young women had a smear test compared to 81% of women aged 50-64.
Every year in the UK, over 3,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer, which is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under. This Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (24-30 January) East Riding CCG is urging all young women to attend their cervical smear test when invited – it could save lives.
The research from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) also shows that the number of women of all eligible ages having a smear test across the East Riding is steadily decreasing year-on-year. In 2014 79.5% of women attended and in 2015 79.3% of women attended.
Dr Tim Allison, Director of Public Health at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “Cervical screening is important for cancer prevention and I would encourage women to accept their invitations for a test.”
Dr Phil Kirby, Screening and Immunisation Lead, NHS England – North (Yorkshire and the Humber), said: “We understand that going for a cervical smear test can be daunting but a cervical screening test takes five minutes, is painless, and if you attend each time you’re invited it provides a high degree of protection against developing cervical cancer.
“It’s actually estimated that early detection and treatment through cervical screening can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers from developing in the UK. Therefore we want to urge all women who are eligible to attend their smear when they are invited, or book one if they’ve missed their last smear test by calling their GP, and ensure they stay healthy.”
Cervical screening isn’t a test for cancer; it’s a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix (the entrance to the womb). Most women’s test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.
The symptoms of cervical cancer aren’t always obvious, and it may not cause any symptoms at all until it’s reached an advanced stage. This is why it’s very important that women attend all of their cervical screening appointments. In most cases, vaginal bleeding is the first noticeable symptom of cervical cancer. It usually occurs after having sex. Bleeding at any other time, other than your expected monthly period, is also considered unusual. Other symptoms of cervical cancer may include pain and discomfort during sex and an unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge.
To find out more about Cervical Cancer Prevention Week visit the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website www.jostrust.org.uk
For more information about cervical cancer and the NHS Cervical Screening Programme visit http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-cervix