Scotland

Cervical screenings in Scotland drop to 10-year low

cervical cancer Image copyright SPL
Image caption Uptake of cervical screenings in Scotland is now at a 10-year low.

The number of women going for cervical screenings in Scotland has dropped to a 10-year low.

Uptake has fallen across every age group and every health board.

As of 31 March, only 69.2% of women who were eligible had been screened in the last three-and-a-half years, compared to 70.4% the previous year.

A new online campaign will be rolled out later this year to encourage more women aged between 25 and 34 to have a smear test.

Figures show three women lose their lives to cervical cancer every day in the UK.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said: "We will soon be launching a new marketing campaign with NHS Health Scotland to drive home the importance, particularly with younger women, of attending their smear test when invited.

"These efforts will support the work that NHS Boards continue to do locally to increase the uptake in the programme, and take every opportunity to reinforce the importance of attending cervical screening.

"I would urge all eligible women to take up their invitation for screening and hope that this bold new campaign will raise awareness of those benefits and encourage women to make an appointment."

Robert Music, chief executive of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, said: "It is extremely disappointing and concerning to see uptake of cervical screening has fallen again.

"Incidence of cervical cancer in Scotland has increased by 21% in the last year and if we continue to see uptake decrease we are likely to see even more diagnoses and more lives lost to the disease.

"Cervical screening is a five minute test, but it is one that could save your life and I want to encourage all women to attend their screening when invited."

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