The number of smear tests increases for the first time in FIVE years, when 11 million women went for life-saving cervical cancer tests in England in 2018
- NHS statistics show that 71.9 percent of eligible women attended their appointments
- This was a 71.4 percent increase in 2017-18 and the first increase since 2014
- Experts say it's still not good enough because a million women choose not to go
The presence of cervical smears in England has increased for the first time in five years, according to figures from NHS.
Nearly 11 million women between 25 and 64 had routine cervical screening tests in 2018-19 – more than ever since 2011.
This represents 71.9 percent of all those who are invited to the tests and marks a small increase of 71.4 percent the year before.
That percentage had fallen steadily for almost eight years and only increased once in 2014 – in 2014.
Health experts said it was promising to see an increase, but the good news should not distract from the issue of a million women choosing not to go.
The life-saving tests look for cell changes that can lead to cancer in an attempt to catch the deadly disease early.
The proportion of women aged 25-64 attending their routine smears increased for the second time in eight years from 71.4 percent to 71.9 percent
& # 39; Although we have seen a small turnout, we should not forget that one million women did not go to cervical screening in England last year & # 39 ;, said the charity's general manager Jo & # 39; s Cervical Cancer Trust, Robert Music.
& # 39; We remain well below the 80 percent target and still have a long way to go. & # 39;
The charity says there are several reasons why women choose not to go to appointments, ranging from embarrassment, fear of the procedure, trouble going to a doctor or not understanding the purpose of the tests.
There was a small increase in the number of attendees when reality TV personality Jade Goody died of cervical cancer in 2009, but the numbers continued to fall.
HOW MANY WOMEN ARE AT THEIR CERVIC SCREENINGS?
In England, cervical smears are offered every three years to women between 25 and 49 years old, and every five years to women between 50 and 64 years old. Older people over the age of 64 are only invited to routine appointments if they have had an abnormal result in the past.
NHS statistics show how presence has changed in the last eight years:
2011 – 75.7% of eligible women (10.28 million attendees)
- 2012 – 75.4% (10.35 m)
- 2013 – 73.9% (10.10 m)
- 2014 – 74.2% (10.35 m)
- 2015 – 73.5% (10.41 m)
- 2016 – 72.7% (10.46 m)
- 2017 – 72% (10.57 m)
- 2018 – 71.4% (10.67 m)
- 2019 – 71.9% (10.92 m)
Source: NHS Digital
The government and the NHS have taken numerous measures in recent years to increase screening coverage and make testing more effective.
In 2017, when coverage reached a low of 20 years, health professionals urged GPs to offer women more morning and evening appointments to fit into their busy lives.
A public health awareness campaign launched in England earlier this year urged women not to be scared of smears, which some say are uncomfortable.
And the Capita company, which used to send invitations on behalf of the NHS but did not deliver 47,000, was stripped this year of the admin contract in favor of the NHS that did it itself.
The tests themselves are also being replaced by more sensitive versions and HPV tests – the virus causes 99 in 100 cases of cervical cancer – in an effort to recognize early signs of cancer even faster.
Robert Music added: & # 39; With the roll-out of HPV testing, we now have a much more effective screening method that can prevent many more cancer diagnoses.
& # 39; Ensuring that women have access to and understand the benefits of this test should be paramount.
& # 39; It is just as important to ensure that women fully understand what it means to be tested for HPV, get the diagnosis, and have implications for daily life.
& # 39; We are seeing more and more women who are confused and anxious after an HPV test and this needs to change. & # 39;
Reality TV personality Jade Goody (shown at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London) died of cervical cancer in 2009
Cervical cancer is almost always caused by the HPV virus, which spreads through sex.
It is diagnosed about 3,200 times a year in the UK and kills just under 300 women annually, according to Cancer Research UK.
However, the disease is difficult to catch early without screening and only about four out of 10 patients survive ten years or more after their diagnosis.
WHAT IS A SMEAR TEST?
A smear detects abnormal cells on the cervix, the entrance of the uterus from the vagina.
The removal of these cells can prevent cervical cancer.
Most test results clearly come back, but one in 20 women shows abnormal changes in the cells of their cervix.
In some cases, these must be removed or they can become cancerous.
Regular screening means that abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix can be identified at an early stage and, if necessary, treated to stop the development of cancer (stock)
Cervical cancer usually affects sexually active women between 30 and 45 years.
In the UK, the NHS Cervical Screening Program invites women from 25 to 49 every three years for a smear, those from 50 to 64 every five years, and women over 65 if they have not been screened since 50 or before have been abnormal Results.
Women must be registered with a general practitioner to be invited to a test.
In the US, tests start when women turn 21 and they run every three years until they turn 65.
Changes in cervical cells are often caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be transmitted during sex.
In January 2018, women shared selfies with smeared lipstick on social media to raise awareness of the importance of cervical cancer testing in a campaign launched by Jo & # 39; s Cervical Cancer Trust.
Celebrities including model and socialite Tamara Ecclestone, formerly I & # 39; m A Celebrity! star Rebekah Vardy and former Emmerdale actress Gaynor Faye participated in supporting the # SmearForSmear campaign.
Socialite Tamara Ecclestone supported the # SmearForSmear campaign from Jo & # 39; s Trust
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