Health chiefs in Stockport are backing a national campaign urging women not to put their lives at risk by refusing to have their smear test.
In England, cervical screening uptake has dropped to its lowest level in 20 years – running at an average of just over 71%.
The uptake has also dropped in Stockport but the decrease has been slower than the national average only falling half a percent in eight years to just over 75%.
This is due to the hard work of local GP surgeries and the borough’s Public Health team to persuade women about the importance of the going for their smear test.
But despite the boroughs better than average performance, it still means that one in every five women who should have a smear is missing out.
And, more worryingly, in some areas of Stockport that rate alarmingly rises to around one in two women.
Dr Cath Briggs, a local GP and Clinical Chair for Stockport CCG said: “It is really important that women, particularly younger women, attend their screening which can detect abnormal cells before they even become cancerous
“We know some women feel embarrassed or are worried about discomfort which can put them off. But if they are, they can chat with their GP or practice nurse who’ll explain what’s involved and ease any concerns they have.
“The cervical screening is relatively quick – it takes around five minutes – and it’s easy. It is one of very few preventive cancer tests that we have.
“So please take a few minutes to do something that could save your life.”
Women between the ages of 25 and 64 are regularly invited for screening by their GP practice. It is every:
• 3 years for those aged 25 – 49
• 5 years for those aged 50 – 64
• Over 65s only need one if they’ve previously had an abnormal smear
If you’ve not had your smear when you should have done, book in for yours now.