A third of women in Brighton miss smear tests, NHS data shows Brighton News

MORE than a third of women miss cervical screenings that could help prevent cancer.

Figures show women in Brighton and Hove are skipping procedures, with a cancer trust claiming fear, embarrassment and a lack of understanding of what they entail among the reasons.

Screenings, also called “smears”, are offered to people with a cervix aged 25 to 49 every three years, while those aged 50 to 64 receive their invitations every five years.

A small sample of cells is taken and checked for precancerous abnormalities.

However, only 64% of the 90,055 patients in Brighton and Hove eligible for a Pap smear by the end of 2021 attended a screening and had a clear result, according to NHS data – up from 65% at the end of 2020 and 68% in December 2019.

Rates varied by age group, with 72% of eligible 50-64 year olds being screened, compared to 61% among 25-49 year olds.

Dr Jo Thomson, primary care manager for the Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance and Cancer Research UK GP, said: ‘Screening only takes a few minutes and that means any abnormal cells can be treated quickly before they develop. potentially turns into cancer.

“We know this may sound embarrassing or seem like something you can easily put off, but we urge all women not to ignore your invitation – accepting your invitation and getting checked on could save your life.

“Please speak to your doctor’s office about any concerns you may have – we are here to help.”

Across England, 70% of eligible women had adequate screening by the end of 2021, against a national target of 80%.

Samantha Dixon, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: ‘There is no single reason behind the drop in cervical screening attendance, instead a wide range of factors exist.

“These include pressure from the NHS, fear, embarrassment and not knowing what the test is for or thinking it is irrelevant.”

Around 2,700 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year and around 690 women die from the disease.

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This notice was published: 2022-06-28 04:00:00

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