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‘Concerning’ dip in cervical cancer screens

Official figures show a ‘concerning’ drop in the number of younger women attending cervical cancer screenings.

The figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) this week show a two percentage point drop cervical cancer screening in the 25 to 49 year age group over the past year.

The figures showed full ‘coverage’ (women screened) went from 78.6% in 2012 to 78.3% in 2013, with the biggest drop in women aged 35-39, where the number of screenings dropped by 2.4 percentage points.

For women aged 25 to 49 years old, coverage fell from 71.5% for the year up until 31 March 2013 from 73.5% at the same point in 2012

The HSCIC reported that, ‘A total of 4.24 million women aged 25 to 64 were invited for screening in 2012-13, a fall of 9.7% from 2011-12 when 4.69 million were invited’.

But the report did explain this could be due to a high level of women not needing to be tested after being screening in 2008/09 due to the publicity surrounding Jade Goody’s death from cervical cancer.

HSCIS chair Kingsley Manning said: ‘While we cannot tell how many abnormalities might be being missed among those women not taking up the invitation for screening, it is concerning to see the fall in coverage among the younger women.’