Women who avoid cervical screening tests risk their lives, say GP’s

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Research showing decline in number of women attending cervical screening prompts fear more will develop cancer Women are risking their lives by not going for cervical screening, new research shows that many women are too scared or embarrassed to have the test. A decline in the number of women taking up invitations to attend their GP’s surgery for cervical screening has prompted fears that more will develop the disease – the commonest cancer among women under 35 in the UK – and be diagnosed late, reducing their chances of survival. Women aged 25-29 and 60-64 are least likely to attend an appointment for cervical screening, with one in three younger women and more than one in four of the older group not turning up, according to research commissioned by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust The number of women of all ages who do not attend smear tests has been falling gradually over the past decade, except for a brief hike in 2009 after reality TV star Jade Goody’s death from cervical cancer. The proportion currently stands at about one in five. On average, younger women wait for 15 months after receiving their invitation before they attend, while among older women the average delay is 33 months, according to a new survey of 2,021 women aged 25 to 29 or 60 to 64 commissioned by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

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