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Three years on from Jade Goody’s battle with cervical cancer, the numbers of women aged 25-29 attending their cervical screening test has increased slightly from 62.5 per cent to 63 per cent suggesting some of those who were screened in 2009 have returned for their three yearly check. However statistics out today show that in 2011/12 almost 1 in 3 women aged 25-29 still ignore their invitation whilst uptake for women aged 60-64 has hit a 15 year low, down by 0.7 per cent to 72.7 per cent.
Robert Music, Director of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s only charity dedicated to supporting women of all ages with cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities comments: “Cervical cancer kills three women every day but is largely preventable thanks to the cervical screening programme which saves around 5,000 lives every year. Therefore whilst it’s positive to see a reverse in the downward trend of screening in the 25-29 age group there are still thousands of women failing to get screened.
“In particular we have concerns for those aged 60-64. With reports  showing that over half of women aged 50–64, with fully invasive cancer had not been screened for at least 7 years, it’s vital that older eligible women where cervical cancer survival is worse continue to prioritise this life saving test.
“A study  by the charity of women aged 50+ found a poor level of understanding when it comes to the importance of attending screening and this includes a third stating they did not consider screening a necessary test for all women with that figure more than doubling to 67% amongst those who had never attended screening.
“It’s vital that women recognise this is a disease that affects women of all ages and we need to do a lot more to encourage those women who have missed or delayed a screening test to take proactive steps to protecting themselves against cervical cancer.
“If numbers of women being screened continue to fall, then sadly there is a very real risk that more women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. The impact of a diagnosis cannot be underestimated and for those that survive, many will go through invasive and painful treatments, suffering on-going side effects with a possibility of losing the ability to have children.
“We need to remind and reassure women that this is a simple five minute procedure, given once every three years to five years dependent on age.”
For further information, comment or case studies please contact Maddy Durrant on 020 7936 7498 / 07772 290 064 or email [email protected]
Notes to editors