A prominent health expert says there has been a rise in the statistics of young women with cervical cancer in Somerset, due to a decline in the number of those who do regular cervical screening.
Cervical cancer is very common among women who are under 35 years, it can, however, be prevented to a large extent through the HPV vaccination programme and regular screening.
Available records show that close to 5,000 out of the eligible 16,044 women in Somerset within the age brackets of 25 and 29 have not gone for screening in the past five years.
The decrease in the number of women in Somerset who do regular screening could be associated with ignorance of the cause of the disease and shame.
The European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is here again to raise awareness about how important cervical cancer screening is and its role in the prevention of cancer, the purpose of this campaign is to encourage women to take their screening appointments seriously to minimize the rate of occurrence of the disease.
Dr Julie Yates, a consultant in public health and screening and immunisation in the South West expressed his concern by saying; “We have noticed a fall in attendance of younger women over the past few years, and this decline in attendance for screening is now linked to showing a rise in the incidence of cervical cancer in women under 35.”
“It is really important for young women to understand the importance of attending cervical screening when they receive a letter from their GP, as it can detect pre-cancer abnormalities, which, if left untreated, may develop into cancer.”
Dr Yates added that screening is a preventative measure and a way of diagnosing these problems in their early stages in women who would not otherwise know there was an abnormality, because they don’t show any other symptoms.
Over 90 percent of the result turns out normal most times, and the majority of those who are diagnosed with problems receive treatment that will prevent the development of cancer.
Dr Yates advised: “I urge woman who may have received a letter and decided not to attend to reconsider and make an appointment – it really is very quick, it could prevent you needing more invasive treatment later on and could ultimately save your life.”