Calling all women…time to get checked

Wednesday 16th January, 2019

Right now the number of women attending their smear test is at a 21 year low and is declining across the UK.

Currently 1 in 4 women don’t attend when invited and in some parts of the country attendance is far lower.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is next week (21-27 January) and the NHS is supporting the national #SmearForSmear campaign and encouraging all women to get tested.

Every day nine women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer and three women will lose their lives to the disease.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35 but is largely preventable if risks are identified during cervical screening.

Screening is offered to all women aged 25 to 64 years old, with women aged 25 to 49 screened three yearly and women aged 50 to 64 screened every five years. 

But, the latest figures show that the number of women aged 25-29 years of age being screened for cervical cancer is the lowest in any age group and numbers attending for screening are falling year on year.

Surveys undertaken by cancer charities indicate embarrassment and a lack of understanding of the causes of cervical cancer may be behind the fall in numbers attending.

Importantly though the number of women dying from cervical cancer has halved over the past 27 years as a result of action taken following results at screening, as well as improvement in treatment.

This week the NHS aims to raise awareness of the importance of cervical screening and its role in preventing cancer, as well as encouraging women to go for their screening test when invited. 

95% of results will be normal and of those that are not, the vast majority can be treated very easily and will never develop in to cancer.

Find out more about the screening test on the Cervical screening pages of the NHS Choices website