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Women aged 50-64 are invited for cervical screening every five years however uptake among this age group is declining and among women aged 60-64 has reached an 18-year low. Worryingly the NHSCSP Audit of invasive Cervical Cancer national report in 2007-10 found 56% of women aged 50-64 with fully invasive cancer hadn't been screened within seven years, compared to only 16% of women without cervical cancer.
In May 2015 we commissioned a study to explore knowledge of cervical cancer and barriers to screening for women aged 50 to 64. The findings were launched during Cervical Screening Awareness Week 2015 alongside calls for more investment in research to explore the feasibility of introducing HPV self-sampling as part of the NHS cervical screening programme.
The survey, which was conducted by Censuswide, sampled 1,519 women aged 50 to 64. 764 had previously delayed cervical screening and 755 had never delayed.
The results found significant knowledge gaps amongst this group and a range of barriers to attending screening.