Briggs calls on Women in Lothian to book their Cervical Screening
This week is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and MSPs at Holyrood have had a debate on cervical screening uptake rates in Scotland, which are declining.
Cervical screening is the best protection against cervical cancer preventing 8 out of 10 cervical cancers from developing, year by identifying cell changes that could become malignant and treating them, which is usually very effective.
Cervical screening rates in Scotland are in decline with uptake rates falling from 71% in women aged 25 to 49 in 2016/17 to 70.5% in 2017/18.
Uptake rates for cervical screening are lower in Edinburgh and the Lothian’s than other parts of Scotland, with uptake rates falling from 67.9% in women aged 25 to 49 in 2016/17 to 67.0% in 2017/18.
Uptake of cervical screening is lowest amongst younger women, which is particularly concerning as cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35 in Scotland and the UK.
In Scotland approximately six women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every week and this number has the potential to be reduced, if uptake rates for cervical screening are increased.
Jo’s Cervical cancer trust this week revealed results form a survey of 2,005 women aged between 25 and 35 which showed and the results found that of the young women who delay or don’t go for a cervical screening test 71% feel scared, 75% feel vulnerable and 81% embarrassed and 67% responding that they would not feel in control being tested.
The Trust have launched their #SmearForSmear social media campaign to raise awareness of what a smear test is for, why they are important and provide support and advice to women to make going for a test feel less daunting.
Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative Lothian MSP, said:
“If uptake for cervical screening is going to be improved the concerns that women have around taking a test are going to have to be addressed.
“The #SmearForSmear campaign is incredibly important for providing support and advice, as well as acting as a reminder to women to book their test if they have put it off or are have been meaning to take it.
“Uptake rates of cervical screening are lower in Edinburgh and the Lothian’s than other parts of Scotland and I encourage any woman who is overdue a test to arrange one with their GP.
“We all have a role to play in understanding the importance of the tests and addressing the fears women have around smear tests, to improve the uptake rates of cervical screening and reduce the number of women in Scotland who are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year.”