Doctors in Bassetlaw are urging women to attend recommended cervical screenings as uptake rates hit a 20-year low across the country.
Data published to mark national Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, January 21-27, indicates that only about 70 per cent of eligible women are accepting NHS screening invites, commonly known as a smear test.
In Worksop, only about 75 per cent of women aged 25 and 64, are taking up their test invites.
Dr Eric Kelly, chairman of Bassetlaw clinical commissioning group, said: “Having a smear test is hugely important as early detection of any abnormalities within the cervix can lead to a better chance of successful treatment.
“Women who don’t attend their appointments are the most vulnerable in developing more serious complications.
“Usually there are no symptoms with cervical cancer, so it is only by having a smear test that any abnormal cells within the cervix can be found before they develop into cancer.”
On average, nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every day in the UK, equivalent to about 3,000 cases diagnosed each year.
It is the most common form of cancer in women under the age of 35.
A smear test isn’t a test for cancer – it’s a pre-cancer screening in order to detect any changes to your cervix before they potentially become a problem.
All women between the ages of 25 and 64 are eligible for a free cervical screening test every three to five years.
If you are aged between 25 and 49, you will receive an appointment every three years, aged between 50 and 64 every five years.
Women older than 65 you will only be screened if they have not had a smear test since the age of 50 or have had recent abnormal tests.
Screening is usually carried out by the practice nurse at a patient’s regular GP clinic.
Women who have missed a cervical screening appointment can contact their GP to book another at any time.
Dr Kelly said: “I’d urge all women from South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw to take up their all-important screening appointment, for five minutes out of your day – it could save your life.”
n To find out more about people’s personal stories in the Bassetlaw and Doncaster health region, and their fears, the facts and tips on getting ready for your smear, visit fearorsmear.dbh.nhs.uk