Wales

Cervical cancer screening low brings urgent action call

Sample observed under a microscope Image copyright Thinkstock

Screenings for cervical cancer in Wales are at an 11-year low, with a charity calling for urgent action.

In 2016/17, the procedure was given to 177,000 women aged 25 to 64, after 236,300 invitations were sent out.

This represents 77% of eligible women, down from 77.8% in 2015/16.

While Cervical Screening Wales called the figure "encouraging", Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust said it was concerned more women could develop life-changing cancers as a result.

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The screening procedure looks at abnormal changes to cells in the cervix, with early detection allowing treatment and increasing the chances of survival.

Louise Dunk, head of NHS body Cervical Screening Wales, said: "While (more than) 75% coverage is encouraging, I would call on all eligible women to attend for screening and help us reduce the impact of this preventable disease."

But Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust called for urgent action to reverse a decade-long downward trend, saying more women could be faced with life-changing cancer diagnoses.

Its chief executive Robert Music called it "largely preventable", adding: "It's time to change things and urgently prioritise screening and address the many barriers women are facing when it comes to attending."

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