Women urged to go for smear after uptake reaches all time low

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin

A north east MSP is encouraging women to go for their smear test to help reduce their risk of cervical cancer after it was revealed uptake is at an all time low.

It comes as the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust aims to raise awareness during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.

More than 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the UK.

Cervical screening (smear tests) are the best protection against the disease, followed by the HPV vaccine offered in schools.

Figures have revealed that last year, cervical screening uptake in Scotland fell from 73.4% to 72.8% meaning that more than one in four eligible women missed their screen test.

This week Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has published new research which has found young women who delay or don’t go for cervical screening feel scared (71%), vulnerable (75%) and embarrassed (81%) at the thought of going.

A worrying two thirds (67%) say they would not feel in control at the prospect of a test.

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin said: “I am delighted to be working with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.

“Cervical screening prevents up to 75% of cervical cancers developing, so it is worrying to hear that so many women are not attending this test when invited, particularly due to embarrassment.

“It’s a small test which can make a huge difference so I would urge women to encourage daughters, nieces, other family and friends who are eligible for the test to do so.”

Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “We are delighted to have Gillian Martin’s support to help raise awareness about the importance of cervical screening. Smear tests provide the best protection against cervical cancer yet we know they aren’t always easy.

“We want women to feel comfortable talking to their nurse and asking questions. It’s not making a fuss and there are many ways to make the test easier. Please don’t let your fears stop you booking a test.”