A third of women fail to attend life-saving cervical cancer screening across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire
A third of women in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) failed to attend their potentially life-saving cervical cancer screening in the last three and a half years.
NHS health chiefs are urging women aged between 25 and 64 to attend their smear test when they are invited to do so by their GP.
Women aged 25 to 49 are offered the test every three years, and then every five years until the age of 64.
Smear tests help save 4,500 lives every year and early detection prevents up to an estimated 75% of cervical cancers developing.
"Smear tests can often feel embarrassing for women, however by doing so it means you are giving yourself the best possible chance of preventing cervical cancer. If you have had your smear test, please encourage your female friends and relatives to do so as many women are too embarrassed to attend the appointment. Screening allows us to identify abnormal cells before they become cancer, which means effective treatment can start – so early detection really does save lives. Please ensure your local GP has your most recent address so they are able to send you the invitation in the post."
- Dr Alison Wint, clinical lead for cancer
The number of women dying from cervical cancer has dropped by almost a quarter over the past 10 years. But the disease is still claiming lives. In 2014, 890 women in the UK died as a result of cervical cancer*.
Despite the importance of this examination, figures released by NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups show just 68% of women attend their screening over the past three and a half years, and just 49% of women aged between 60 and 64 were screened.