Thousands of women in Milton Keynes are putting their lives at risk by not taking up the offer of a smear test.
The uptake of cervical screening in England has declined for the fourth consecutive year with Milton Keynes one of the areas that has seen a decline in women coming forward.
Latest figures show screening has dropped in Milton Keynes to 72% in the last year with more than 22,200 women not taking up their screening invitation.
Screening of women aged 25-49 has dropped to 69% and women aged 50-64 has dropped to 76%. The national target is 80%.
Dr Nicola Smith, local GP and chairman for NHS Milton Keynes CCG, said: “As we see screening coverage go down year on year, we are also seeing the numbers diagnosed with cervical cancer rise.
So, we are urging all women aged 25-64 not to miss out on a vital smear test as it could save their life.
“Cervical screening is not a test for cancer. Screening actually prevents cancer by detecting early abnormalities in the cervix, so they can be treated.
“During the early stages, cervical cancer will not often have any symptoms and the best way for it to be detected is through a screening.
“Prevention is the key to improving survival rates and cervical screening will save lives.”
Every year in the UK, around 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, two women lose their lives to the disease every day and is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under.
Thanks to cervical screening and the HPV vaccination programme, 75% of cervical cancers can be prevented – but the uptake of cervical screening is going down every year.
For younger women, HPV vaccinations can help prevent seven out of 10 cervical cancers, and these are routinely given to girls across the country aged 12 and 13.
This is a vaccination against the persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection that causes changes to the cervical cells and is responsible for nearly all cervical cancers.
The #SmearForSmear 2019 campaign is run by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, a UK charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. For more information on #SmearForSmear 2019 visit https://www.jostrust.org.u