Women Missing Out on Smears

7 June 2010, 06:00

Health bosses in Oxfordshire say they're worried many women aren't going for regular smear tests.

Just under 30% of women in the county who are between the ages of 25 and 50 haven't had a smear test in the past 3 years.

It could mean cervical cancer in some women is going undetected.

Last year in Oxfordshire, there were 118,816 women in that age category eligible for cervical screening but only 85,416 were screened (based on the last 3 and a half years).

Early detection and treatment can prevent 75% of cancers developing. According to research, 5,000 deaths are prevented every year by the cervical screening programme.

Smear tests aren't a test for cancer, but a method of preventing it through detection and treating it early abnormalities of the cervix (neck of the womb).

Anne Ambler, Health Improvement Principle from NHS Oxfordshire told Heart the smear test is really important. She said:

"It's free, it's not too uncomfortable, it doesnt take very long and it can save your life."