SOLIHULL NHS Care Trust has expressed alarm over a recent drop in the number of young women and those in their early sixties taking up cervical screening in the borough.
Cervical cancer is a potentially fatal disease and has recently come under the media spotlight after reality television star Jade Goody was diagnosed with the illness last August following a check up.
Medical experts at the trust say their Cervical Screening Programme has been successful in achieving overall targets for the number of women being screened for the disease but assert more needs to be done to encourage women aged between 25 and 29 years and from 60 to 64 years to take up routine smear tests.
Women across Solihull are being urged to respond when they get their regular invitation to visit their GP practice for cervical screening which is every 3 years for women aged between 25 to 49 years and every five years for women aged from 50 to 64 years of age.
The trust will be taking part in a regional ‘Pants’ campaign next month and in May aimed at getting young women to book a smear test.
The campaign advertises the fact that free cervical screening saves the life of one woman in the West Midlands region every day.
Flyers will also be sent to women whose appointments are due and personal letters to those who have not responded.
Statistics released by the trust show that in 2006 - 2007, only 72 per cent of women aged between 25 and 29 years of age took up cervical screening, while in 2007 to 2008, the figure was even less, standing at 70 per cent.
Among 60 to 64 year olds, 80 per cent in this group attended smear testing in 2006 to 2007, whilst in 2007 to 2008 the number declined to 78 per cent.
Dr Stephen Munday, director of public health, Solihull NHS Care Trust, said: “Cervical screening can save lives. Early detection of cervical cancer dramatically increases chances of survival so it is important that women take up the chance to be tested.”
“The overall aim of the national screening programme has been met in Solihull with eight out of ten women taking advantage of being screened.
“Since the early 1990s there has been a steady fall in the number of women dying from cervical cancer in Solihull. This is due to cases being detected early through the cervical screening programme.”