Health leaders in Corby are urging women aged between 25 and 49 to attend regular cervical cancer screenings after figures revealed that only 70 per cent of those eligible were screened in 2014.
Every day in the UK eight women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and three women lose their lives to the disease.
Nearly 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in the UK yet 20 per cent of women do not take up their invitation for cervical screening.
In Corby in 2014, only 70 per cent of eligible women in the 25 to 49 year age bracket were screened.
Yet cervical cancer is largely preventable and, if caught early, the survival rates are high.
Dr Joanne Warcaba, Macmillan GP for Corby NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and Nene NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “I can’t stress enough the importance of women having regular cervical screening.
“The screening programme saves 5,000 lives each year in the UK yet 20 per cent of women are not attending their cervical screening test annually.
“During the early stages, cervical cancer will not often have any symptoms and the best way for it to be detected is through a screening.
“Prevention is the key to improving survival rates and cervical screening will save lives.
“The sad death of Jade Goody at such a young age highlights the importance of both the cervical screening programme and the HPV vaccination programme.
“Cervical cancer is largely preventable and, if caught early, survival rates are high.
“Being screened regularly means that any abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix can be identified at an early stage and, if necessary, treated to stop cancer developing.
“It is estimated that early detection and treatment can prevent up to 75 per cent of cervical cancers.”
All women aged 25 to 49 are invited for cervical screening, a method of examining cells from the cervix to detect abnormalities which may become cancerous in the future, every three years.
After that, women are invited every five years until the age of 64.
Since the introduction of cervical screening in the 1980s, rates of cervical cancer have almost halved.
For younger women, HPV vaccinations can help prevent seven out of 10 cervical cancers, and these are routinely given to girls across the country aged 12 and 13.
This is a vaccination against the persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection that causes changes to the cervical cells and is responsible for nearly all cervical cancers.
However, although rarer there are some recognised symptoms associated with cervical cancer which women are advised to be aware of:
Discomfort or pain during sex
Lower back pain
For more information, visit www.jostrust.org.uk.