One-in-three women snub smear test offer
THE NATIONAL TARGET IS 80 PER CENT BUT JUST 63.4 PER CENT HAVE BEEN SCREENED IN MANCHESTER
MORE than a third of women in Manchester haven’t had their smear test done – and the rate is getting worse.
New NHS figures show that 157,500 women should have had the screening done as of 2018/19.
But 57,718 hadn’t had the test. It means more than one in three eligible women have missed out on what could be a life-saving screening – or 36.6 per cent.
Campaigners blasted funding cuts for cancer campaigns as ‘highly frustrating’ – especially because the benefits can be significant in areas where low attendance is prevalent.
The rate is up from 36.5pc the year before and is at its highest since 2013/14, when figures at a local authority level were first published.
It means just 63.4pc of women had been screened as of 2018/19 – far below the national target of 80.0pc.
All women aged between 25 and 64 are invited for regular smear tests, which aim to spot abnormalities that could develop into cervical cancer if undetected and left untreated.
Those aged between 25 and 49 should have been screened within the past three-anda-half years while those aged between 50 and 64 should have been screened within the past five-and-a-half years.
The tests are free on the NHS and usually take less than five minutes. While there was a spike in screening following the death of high-profile media star Jade Goody in 2009, in recent years the rate of women having smear tests has been falling. Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “We remain far below the 80pc target and have a long way to go. “Among young women, it remains under two in three booking a potentially life-saving test, and big variations across ages demonstrate the need for targeted activities to tackle the different barriers across the life course.
“Funding for national Be Clear on Cancer campaigns has been cut and this is highly frustrating.
“There are areas of the country where under half of the eligible population are being screened and we know the benefits of these campaigns can be significant.”
Across England, 15.2 million women aged between 25 and 64 should have had a smear test done as of 2018/19.
But 4.3 million of these women had not – a rate of 28.1pc.
While that was a slight improvement from 28.6pv the year before, it remains the second-highest rate on modern record. Comparable figures go back as far as 2010/11, when 24.9pc of women missed out on the screening.
We remain far below the 80pc target and have a long way to go
Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust