A Harrogate cancer charity has said that research has shown that a quarter of women in Yorkshire eligible to take part in screening for cervical cancer are failing to attend appointments.
Figures provided by Yorkshire Cancer Research show that during 2013/14, 294,009 women aged 25-64 across the county missed out on the vital checks.
The charity is urging more women to get themselves tested as part of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (24-30 January 2016).
Dr Kathryn Scott, Head of Research and Innovation at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said:
Attending cervical cancer screening appointments is incredibly important. Screening not only helps to prevent cancer by picking up abnormal cells before they become cancerous, but also detects cancer cells at a very early stage, when the disease is easier to treat.
Although the cervical cancer screening uptake rate in Yorkshire is generally equal to or above the national average, a quarter of those eligible are not taking part. Cervical screening can prevent around 45% of cervical cancer cases in women in their 30s who attend regularly so it really is essential that we drive home this message.
- Cervical cancer screening rates are particularly low in Bradford City CCG, where just 62.5% of women attended appointments compared to the England average of 74.3%
- Cervical cancer incidence rates are particularly high in Hull CCG (16.6 cases per 100,000 people), Leeds South & East CCG (15.6 cases per 100,000 people) and South Tees CCG (15.1 cases per 100,000 people) compared with the England average (9.6 cases per 100,000 people)
- High mortality rates have been found in Hull CCG (5.9 cases per 100,000 people), Leeds South & East CCG (5.6 cases per 100,000 people) and Barnsley CCG (5.3 cases per 100,000 people), compared with the England average (2.8 cases per 100,000 people)
Increasing the number of people who take part in the national screening programmes for bowel, breast and cervical cancer is one of Yorkshire Cancer Research’s priorities for 2016. The charity plans to make a significant investment in community health projects that will improve the number of people diagnosed with cancer at an early stage, when it is easier to treat.
Last year the charity invested £135,000 in a two-year study in Hull, which is aiming to determine why older women are underrepresented within cervical screening programmes and how this can be addressed.
Cases of cervical cancer are particularly high in women aged over 70, and it is believed that this is due to a reduction in the number of women attending screening appointments after the age of 55.