At the dawn of Cervical Cancer Awareness Week across the UK, data lifted from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust shows a decreasing interest in the number of eligible women going for their pap smears.
The figures in Somerset alone are enough to raise the alarms: approximately 10,000 from the younger age group, tagged as millennials, have been recorded to have missed this crucial women’s medical ritual.
Records reveal that Somerset women from age 25 to 29 account for 33% and 28% of women in the 30 to 34 age bracket have not gone for the smear test as far as three and a half years back.
In more solid figures, there is a roster of precisely 9,924 females below the age of 35 that have been without a smear test in quite a while.
Screening from a higher age bracket fares better at 79%, comprising of women aged 50 to 54 years old. These were sourced from the figures of NHS Digital.
Despite a better success rate of smear tests for older women, the total figures across all age brackets remain dismal: 37,088 women from 25 to 64 in Somerset alone have fallen behind in their cervical screenings.
As part of routine standard operating procedures, women eligible for pap smears and who have visited their general practitioner or specialist for whatever medical concern are automatically entered into a database. This record is the basis for invitations to be sent to their addresses, reminding recipients of the tests they need.
Women aged 25 to 49 can expect these invitations every three years, while older age brackets, from 50 to 64, will receive theirs every five years.
Upon probing, 71% of women who put off their screening or missed their schedule all together reasoned out that they were in fear of the pap, escalating mostly among the younger women in the data.
For the others – 75% said that being too open left them vulnerable; about 81% cited embarrassment; and 67% failed to show up because they worried about not being in control of the situation.
To the advocates behind Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, this information puts to light the extensive work and information drive that still need to be accomplished. The Trust’s Chief Executive, Robert Music, called out to women to avail of their smear tests.
While Music understands it is not an easy process, he still strongly advises that it be done as the tests provide the best protection against cervical cancer.
He hopes more Somerset women – especially millennials – set aside their fears and undergo the quick procedure.