Public Health England (PHE) are urging more women to attend life-saving smear tests.
The fresh appeal targets young women to take up the invitation of a cervical cancer test, as new figures published show a fall in the number of 25 to 29-year-old women being tested.
NHS Digital statistics show a fall in the number of women of all ages being screened but worryingly only 62 per cent of younger women took up the invitation for a test last year.
PHE is now urging all eligible women, aged 25 to 64, who are invited for smear tests to take up the offer.
Cervical screening currently prevents 70 per cent of cervical cancer deaths. However, if everyone attended screening regularly, 83 per cent of cases could be prevented.
Women aged 25 to 49 registered with a GP are invited every three years and every five years if aged 50 to 64. The test detects abnormalities within the cervix that could, if undetected and untreated, develop into cervical cancer.
Studies show if the proportion of women screened was raised to 84 per cent it could save the NHS £10 million a year as well as women’s lives.
Professor Anne Mackie, PHE’s director of screening said, “It is of real concern that fewer women, particularly younger women are not being screened, with over a third of women under 30 not taking the test.”
“If women are embarrassed about having the test or worried about what the test results might say, they should talk to their GP who can explain why the test is important.”