0 Items £0.00

Falling cervical screening attendance in England could cost lives

Tue, 27/11/2018 - 09:43

Cervical screening coverage in England has fallen again and is now at just 71.4%. It is now at a 21 year low.

Down from 72% in 2017 and 73.7% in 2011. Of the 4.46 million women invited in 2017-2018, 3.18 million were tested meaning 1.28 million women did not take up their invitation.

Robert Music, Chief Executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust:

Today’s statistics are highly frustrating and, coupled with rising cervical cancer diagnoses, an enormous worry. Yet it is not a surprise to see that attendance continues to fall as women in England are frankly being let down.

At a time when we should be making screening easier to attend it is getting harder and harder to access. Many women struggle to get screening appointments at their GP, access through sexual health is declining and there is limited provision for those requiring extra support including survivors of sexual violence or those with a learning disability. We have been too slow to innovate and much needed investment is not happening. We have a highly effective programme, yet it is being delivered on an IT system which is ready to collapse. We are being left behind by countries such as Australia where advancements including HPV self-sampling are now part of the programme and where elimination of cervical cancer is truly on the horizon.

We cannot sit back and let cervical screening coverage continue to plummet or diagnoses of this often preventable cancer will rise and more mothers, daughters, sisters and friends will be lost.”

Further information

  • The biggest drops in coverage were among:
    • Women aged 25-29 falling from 62.1% to 61.1%
    • Women aged 60-64 falling 69.7% to 68.8%
    • Every local authority is far below the target of 80% coverage with London the worst area at 64.7% (down from 65.7%) and Kensington and Chelsea the worst area in the country at 51.6%.
    • The only local authorities to see increases are Hillingdon, Stockport, Sefton, Blackburn with Darwen and Cumbria.
    • In 2017-18 only 58.6% of women tested received their results within two weeks.
    • The number of cervical cancer diagnoses in England have risen from 2,528 in 2015 to 2,594 in 2016.