Smear test. Photo by <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Alex Brollo <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">(license)</a>
Smear test. Photo by Alex Brollo (license)

Every year in the UK around 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. Each case is an awful experience and I sympathise profoundly with anyone who is affected by this terrible disease.

Progress has been made in reducing cervical cancer incidence rates, and deaths have fallen by around 60% since the national cervical screening programme was launched in 1988. However, there is more that can be done to improve early diagnosis to ensure effective treatment.

I believe that the Government must do all it can to increase take-up and ensure that women who are eligible for a cervical smear test attend their appointments when they are invited or as soon as possible thereafter. Ministers must also ensure that preventative measures, such as the human papillomavirus [HPV] vaccination to girls in secondary schools, are taken up as fully as possible.

Furthermore, as the ‘Smear on Demand’ campaign highlights, women with symptoms should be able to demand a cervical cancer screening, a cervical cancer smear, or a referral from their GP, even if they are under 25. Although it is very rare in women under 25, it remains the most common cancer among young women.

Whilst I understand the medical reasons why the age of the first invitation for cervical screening should be 25, women under 25 who present symptoms should not be turned away because of their age and should absolutely be tested for a potentially deadly disease.

We have seen too many cases of young women dying from cervical cancer unnecessarily, including those that were denied a test because they were ‘too young’.

I have written to Maria Caulfield, the Minister for Patient Safety and Primary Care, and raised this issue with her. I have posted a copy of this letter below for you to see.

Letter to Maria Caulfield (Smear on Demand (2022)) P.1
Letter to Maria Caulfield (Smear on Demand (2022)) P.1
Letter to Maria Caulfield (Smear on Demand (2022)) P.2
Letter to Maria Caulfield (Smear on Demand (2022)) P.2
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