Thousands of young women are failing to have cervical smear tests, figures for England have revealed by the NHS Cancer Screening Programme.
There is a drop in tests done of women in the late twenties group who take the preventive test for cervical cancer that is, the pap smear test. The percentage has come down to 69.4 in 2005-06 from 80% in 1995. A parallel trend was observed in women in mid thirties group too.
Every year, 660,000 women aged between 25 and 29 in England are invited for screening. Almost 80 per cent went for the tests in 1995 but last year only 69.4 per cent did so. The figures suggest that each year, about 2,000 women who have developed pre-cancerous cells are missing the chance of being diagnosed at the earliest point.
Women are said to avoid this test due to the painful and invasive procedures of the same. But according to the medical fraternity, the young women population who are avoiding this test are the ones who are at a greater risk.
Cervical cancer is caused by Human papilloma virus which usually strikes women in their late thirties. Most cases of cervical cancers are preventable, since they start with easily detectable precancerous changes. Therefore, the best prevention for cervical cancer is a regular Pap test. When precancerous changes are detected, appropriate treatment can prevent the development of invasive cancer.