Cervical Cancer Screenings

Fewer Tayside women at risk of cervical cancer are going on to have potentially life-saving treatment, according to new figures.

This was despite the fact more screenings took place (30,435) than the 27,962 in 2017/18.

Some 458 abnormal cell treatments were scheduled in the NHS Tayside area last year, 48 fewer than the year before and 104 fewer than in 2016/17.

And leaflets given to at-risk patients, advising them of the benefits and risks of colposcopy, were at a four-year low in the last financial year.

The figures were obtained via a freedom of information request by the Scottish Conservatives.

Around 220,000 women are diagnosed with cell abnormalities every year in the UK following a smear test.  

These can develop into squamous cell cervical cancer or adenocarcinoma, although the risks of these vary and are discussed in leaflets and with colposcopists who deliver treatment.

Scottish Conservative MP for Angus, Kirstene Hair, believes an important message is getting out regarding the importance of smear tests, leading to an increase in screening.

But she says more information should be given to women ahead of important health decisions.

She said:

“Although there are more tests happening, which is great, fewer letters are going out to tell women about the impact of finding abnormal cells.

“Many women have had negative experiences at a test which gives them pause when the follow-up letter comes through.

“Some experts and charities believe this is because they aren’t armed with the facts.”