Women in Wakefield urged to have their smear tests

Ref: PR 8252
Date: 09/06/2016

Wakefield Council is reminding women across the district to go for their smear tests as one in four do not attend.

The latest statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has alarmingly revealed that a quarter (25%) of women aged 25-64 in Wakefield are not booking in and turning up to a smear test.

The data finds that the numbers of women in Wakefield attending in both the younger age group (25-49) and the older age group (50-64) are falling. In the 25-49 age group, 74.1% attended in 2014 and 74% attended in 2015. In the 50-64 age group, 78.9% attended in 2014 dropping to 78.1% in 2015. 

During Cervical Screening Awareness Week (Monday 13 June to Friday 19 June) the Council is urging all women to pick up the phone when they receive an appointment letter and book their smear test in – it could save their life.

Cllr Pat Garbutt, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: "Having a smear test can be a bit embarrassing but it only takes a few minutes and could save your life. I urge all women in the district to make sure that they book their smear tests as soon as they are invited."

As part of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme, women aged 25-49 are invited to attend cervical screening (or a smear test) at their GP practice every three years, and women aged 50-64 are invited to attend every five years.

Cervical screening isn't a test for cancer; it's a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix (the entrance to the womb). Most women's test results show that everything is normal, but for around one in 20 women the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.

The symptoms of cervical cancer aren't always obvious, and it may not cause any symptoms at all until it's reached an advanced stage. This is why it's very important for women to attend all of their cervical screening appointments.

For more information about the NHS Cervical Screening Programme visit www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cervical-screening-test