Don’t risk your health by missing cervical cancer screening test

Not enough young women in Buckinghamshire are going for their cervical cancer screening – and because of that, some are risking their lives by being diagnosed with the disease too late.
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35 but is largely preventable. NHS Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Groups are encouraging women to make sure they get screened regularly to give themselves the best chance of living a long and healthy life.
Every day 9 women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 3 women will lose their lives to the disease.
But, statistics show that women aged 25-29 are the least likely to attend for screening of any age group and numbers are falling year on year. Surveys undertaken by cancer charities suggest embarrassment and a lack of understanding of the causes of cervical cancer may be behind these falling numbers.
In Buckinghamshire alone, around 24,000 eligible women aged 25-49 have not gone for screening in the last three years.
Dr Raj Thakkar, Clinical Commissioning Director for Planned Care, said: “Too many young women are missing out on their cervical screening test – and unfortunately it puts some of them at needless risk of developing cervical cancer. It is absolutely essential for them to have this quick, simple, potentially life-saving, test.
“The early warning signs of cervical cancer are very hard to detect yourself, so it is vital that women don’t wait until they notice symptoms before booking their screening. The test, which is usually carried out by a practice nurse, is quick and simple to perform. The test comes back normal 95% of the time and the vast majority of abnormal cases, if picked up early, can be treated easily and will never develop into cancer.”
So if you have received an invitation for screening, have missed your smear or are due to be screened, please get in touch with your GP surgery to arrange an appointment – it may well save your life.
For more information about cervical cancer screening, visit NHS Choices or the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust charity.