A quarter of women across the region are missing out on screening that could save their life, health bosses have revealed.
This week is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and health bosses from NHS England Hertfordshire and South Midlands - which includes Bedfordshire - are encouraging women in the area to make sure they attend their cervical screening.
Attending regular cervical screening appointments (also known as smear tests) at your local doctor’s surgery is the best way to identify abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix at an early stage which can help to prevent cancer before it happens.
The latest figures show that approximately 75% of all 25 to 64-year-old females in Hertfordshire and South Midlands attended their latest cervical screening appointment; one in four women are missing out on a procedure that could save their life, says the NHS.
Cath Fenton, public health consultant from NHS England Hertfordshire and South Midlands, said: “This procedure takes around five minutes to perform and it can save lives.
“Women have the option to request that a female doctor or nurse perform the procedure, it is confidential and they are also able to take a friend along with them.
“It is estimated that early detection and treatment can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers. If abnormalities are detected at an early stage then treatment can reduce the risk of cervical cancer developing.”
Cervical screening is not a test for cancer; it is a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix. Most women’s test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women the test will show some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.
It is recommended that women who are between the ages of 25 and 49 are screened every three years, and women between the ages of 50 and 64 are screened every five years