MAIRI GOUGEON MSP has urged her North East constituents to ensure they turn up for potentially life-saving cervical screening (smear tests).
Around one in four people in Angus North and Mearns – 25.3% within NHS Tayside and 24.2% at NHS Grampian – fail to attend their smear test appointment.
Statistics show that up to 75% of cervical cancers can be prevented by early screening – saving around 5,000 lives a year across the UK.
Women aged 25-49 are invited every three years and women aged 50-64 are invited every five years to have a smear test.
But while many women miss a crucial appointment, new research released by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust during Cervical Screening Awareness Week (11th to 17th June) has found that one in eight women find it difficult or impossible to book an appointment.
And Mrs Gougeon said: “I am delighted to be supporting Cervical Screening Awareness Week, and the work of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.
“It’s extremely concerning that more than one in four women do not attend cervical screening.
“Part of the reason for this is that many women find it hard to get an appointment time that suits them and I support Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s calls for action to tackle this.”
Robert Music, Chief Executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “We’re delighted to have the support of Mairi Gougeon MSP.
“Despite cervical screening protecting against 75% of all cervical cancers, one in four women don’t attend. Our research shows that access to cervical screening across the UK is unequal and inconsistent and this needs to change.
“We have a free Helpline that women can call if they have any questions about cervical screening, no question is too big or small. We would like all women to feel they can make an informed decision in attending this potentially life-saving test.”
Cervical Screening Awareness Week runs from 11-17 June (www.jostrust.org.uk/csaw) and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has launched a new report ‘Computer says no’ (https://jostrust.org.uk/access) highlighting unequal access to cervical screening in the UK.
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (www.jostrust.org.uk) is the UK’s only dedicated charity offering support and information to women of all ages and their loved ones affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. The National Helpline is on 0808 802 8000.