Women urged to come forward for cervical cancer screenings

Doctors say a worrying number of younger women are missing vital checks which can help prevent cervical cancer.

Doctors at NHS Tayside are urging women to come forward for cervical cancer screening.

The health board has raised concerns about the lack of younger women coming forward for the tests.

The latest figures published by Public Health Scotland found between March 2021 and April 2022 only 68% of people eligible for the tests in Tayside aged between 25 and 49 came forward for their test.

Gynae cancer lead at NHS Tayside, Dr Kalpana Ragupathy, said they have previously carried out a survey into why some women don’t come forward for their test.

She told STV News: “In 2017 when we did the same initiative, we interviewed around 300 women who kindly gave their responses.

“The main things that came out were; fear, embarrassment and sometimes the pressures of looking after young children, family pressures. Your smear goes to the bottom of the list.”

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35, with around six diagnosed every week.

Nearly all cases are caused by the human papillomavirus, but with HPV vaccines and regular screenings experts say it is preventable.

Dr Ragupathy added: “The crux of the message is we shouldn’t be seeing cervical cancers – it is absolutely preventable.

“The two methods are HPV vaccination and cervical screening, but they go hand in hand.

“Vaccination is highly effective, it prevents about 80% of cervical cancers and hence screening is important as well.

“The main thing for the smear test is it picks up abnormalities before cancer and hence we can treat effectively and prevent cancer from happening.”

NHS Tayside will he holding a pop-up cervical cancer screening clinic on February 7 at Arbroath Infirmary.

More information about how to book an appointment can be found on NHS Tayside’s website.

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