CALLS are being made for younger women to attend their cervical screenings.
Data from NHS England has shown women aged 25 to 29 have the lowest uptake rate of any age group for attending a smear test.
Making time to take up your screening appointment is the single most important active step you can take to avoid developing cancer.Dr Nigel Acheson
Now as part of Cervical Screening Awareness Week, which aims to raise awareness of cervical cancer and how it can be prevented, clinicians are calling for women to not let embarrassment stop them from going to the potentially life-saving appointments.
Nationally, the number of women aged 25 to 29 attending the test has slightly decreased from 63.5 per cent in 2016 to 63.3 per cent in 2015.
Nigel Acheson, NHS England south region medical director and lead for cancer, said: ‘It is really important for young women to understand the importance of attending cervical screening when they receive a letter from their GP.
‘It can detect pre-cancer abnormalities, which, if left untreated, may develop into cancer.
‘Screening is for people without symptoms as a preventative measure.’
In Portsmouth, only 68.1 per cent of eligible women aged 25 to 64 are going for their smear test.
This is joint lowest with Southampton compared to other south coast areas.
Nationally, the latest figure is 72.7 per cent for 2016, which is down from 73.5 per cent the previous year.
All age groups have seen the number of women attending the smear tests decrease in the last two years.
The three clinical commissioning groups in the Portsmouth area are showing their support for the awareness week.
Leading GP Dr Linda Collie said: ‘In Portsmouth, there has been a fall in attendance of women across all age groups over the past few years.
‘Making time to attend your screening appointment is the most important step to take to avoid developing cancer.’
The cervical screening looks for abnormal cells in the cervix which could lead to cancer.
It is carried out by a GP or practice nurse and takes around five minutes.
As part of the awareness week, doctors want to see more women attending their smear appointments.
Dr Chris Guyer, who practices at Spire Portsmouth Hospital based in Havant, said: ‘Cervical cancer has reduced over the last few years and this has happened largely because of the national cervical screening programme.
‘I would urge all women to ensure they are up to date with their cervical smear so they can minimise their risk of developing this disease.’