Health professionals from NHS England are urging young women in Surrey & Sussex to have the cervical screening test as statistics show the take-up within this age group is low.
A third of women aged between 25 and 29 eligible for cervical screening did not take up the offer of the screening test last year.
All women aged between 25 and 64 are invited for cervical screening as part of the NHS cervical screening programme. Regular screening looks at any changes in the cells of the cervix, so that abnormalities can be identified at an early stage and, if necessary, treated to stop cancer developing.
Nicholas Kendall, Screening and Immunisation Manager, NHS England (Surrey & Sussex), said: “Screening programmes are an important part of healthcare and disease prevention. We’ve seen success with cervical screening over the years, but we cannot afford to become complacent.
“Young women are most at risk of developing cervical cancer but worryingly least likely to take up the offer of cervical screening. There could be many reasons for this. Some may be embarrassed to take up the test and others may not understand the benefits of early detection, which often outweigh any fears women have about the screening as they get older.
“However, the important fact is that early detection is the best way to protect women. So screening for all women aged between 25 and 64 is very important.”
It is estimated that early detection and treatment can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers. About 3,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK, which amounts to 2% of all cancers diagnosed in women.