Around 4.6 million women have not come forward for their latest cervical screening, figures from NHS England show. This comes after the NHS sent out a record number of invites in 2021/22 – over 5 million which was up by 10.5% on pre-pandemic levels. Jo's Trust (2023) state that screening coverage across the UK is at its lowest level in 20 years.
In the UK, around 3200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, with 2 women a day dying from the disease (Jo's Trust, 2023). Screening involves taking a small sample of cells from the cervix and looking for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) that could develop into cervical cancer if left untreated.
National Clinical Director for Cancer, Professor Peter Johnson, highlighted the barriers to screening: ‘There are lots of reasons why somebody might not want to come forward – embarrassment, inconvenience, or uncertainty.’
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