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Campaign highlights importance of life-saving smear tests

Campaign highlights importance of life-saving smear tests

Published at 7:28am 10th June 2019.

Women in North Yorkshire are being reminded about the importance of smear tests. 

  • This week is Cervical Screening Awareness Week 
  • Charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust is reminding women how important it is to go for a smear test 
  • The procedure helps detect cervical cancer early 
  • It's estimated the tests save 5,000 lives every year, but 1 in 4 women don't take up their invite 

At the start of Cervical Screening Awareness Week, figures reveal 1 in 4 women don't take up their invite for a smear test. 

The test helps detect call changes which could develop into cervical cancer, which is the most common cancer in women under 35. 

Women aged 25-49 are invited for a test every 3 years and women aged 50-64 are invited every 5 years. 

It's estimated 1 in 4 women ignore their letter inviting them for a screening. 

Earlier this year, it was revealed nearly a quarter of women missed their smear test in North Yorkshire last year.

Of the eligible women invited for a test in North Yorkshire between 2017-2018, 33,762 ignored the invite.

The screening test can by done at a GP practice and involves a small sample of cells being taken from the cervix, which is then sent off for testing. 

Knaresborough GP Cath Dixon is supporting this week's awareness campaign by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. 

She said: 

"What I tend to do is ask ladies when they come in if they're worried about it. 

"Often I'll actually show ladies what I'm going to do because sometimes fear is about what you don't know. 

"Yes it's a little bit uncomfortable, a little bit embarrassing, but it's so important to make sure none of us have cervical cancer and then go on to not be there for our kids."

Dr Dixon says there's also help in the Harrogate area for women who struggle to get to the doctors in the daytime. 

She added:

"There is a service called extended access. It's your practice that can book you into that.

They offer services on a weekend or an an evening, and that can be much easier for women who need childcare or who are at work."

For more information about cervical cancer visit:  

To book a smear test or if you think your test is overdue, contact your GP