Women shun cancer screening

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MORE than one in five Lincolnshire women aged between 25 and 49 is turning down the chance of a free life-saving test that could detect and prevent the onset of cancer.

The county is ahead of many other areas for cervical screening – commonly known as smear tests – but health chiefs would like to boost the figure so more lives can be saved.

NHS Lincolnshire’s health improvement principal Ann Ellis said: “Late diagnosis of cancer is the biggest contributing factor to poor survival rates from cancer in England, so when you are invited for a cancer screen don’t ignore it.”

Some 77 per cent of county women aged 25-49 years were screened in the last three-and-a-half years compared to a national average of 73.4 per cent.

The uptake for Lincolnshire’s older women is better with 81.7 per cent of those aged 50-64 years being tested over the last five-and-a-half years compared to a national rate of 79.9 per cent.

Ms Ellis said smear tests allow doctors to find abnormalities in a woman’s cervix – the neck of the womb – which could develop into cancer if left untreated.

l More than a third of women aged 25-29 years in the East Midlands are failing to have smear tests.