Women over 50 are being urged to have regular smear tests after research showed those who skip screening are six times more likely to end up with cervical cancer.

A study from Cancer Research UK scientists found women who fail to have smear tests over 50 have a much higher chance of developing the disease compared to other women the same age who have a history of normal screening results.

Researchers also found women with a screening history and normal screening results between the ages of 50 and 64 have a lower risk of cervical cancer at least into their 80s.

Loading article content

Researchers examined data taken from 1341 women aged 65 to 83 who were diagnosed with cervical cancer between 2007 and 2012, and compared them to 2646 women without the disease.

Among those women who skipped smear tests between the ages of 50 and 64, 49 cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed per 10,000 women at age 65 to 83. This compared to just eight cases per 10,000 women among those with an adequate screening history and normal results.

In Scotland, screening is routinely offered every three years to women aged between 20 and 60.