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Fears as experts reveal women in city failing to undergo smear test

ONE-THIRD of women in some areas of Glasgow do not go for a smear test regularly, despite a nationwide programme offering screening every three years.

Figures from the Public Health Screening Programmes Annual Report show that across the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area only 75.1% of eligible women attend their appointments for cervical screening. In some parts of the city, the rate drops to just 65.7%.

All women aged between 20 and 60 years are invited every three years for cervical screening, which is thought to prevent eight out of 10 cancers from developing. Experts say screening saves around 5000 lives each year, with about 300 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed annually in Scotland.

Emilia Crighton, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Greatear Glasgow and Clyde said: "While the majority of women who are invited for a smear test attend, it is extremely worrying that in some areas approximately one in three women are not having their regular cervical screening.

"Regular cervical screening is the best way for women to protect themselves against cervical cancer. We are working on developing ways of encouraging women to attend their appointment and I would strongly urge everyone is receives their invitation to take up the offer."

The figures show that in Glasgow North West only 65.7% of women attend their smear test. The rates reach 71.7% in Glasgow North East and 74.6% in Glasgow South.

Cervical screening tests for early changes in the cells caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Ms Crighton said that while it was rare for HPV to develop into cervical cancer, screening was the only way to spot any potential problems.

She added: "There are usually no symptoms with an HPV infection and sometimes no symptoms with early stage cervical cancer, so the only way to really check and make sure everything is okay is to attend your cervical screening test every three years."

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