A push to encourage more young women to take up smear tests is being launched after a fall in the numer of tests in Calderdale.
Health bosses say the number of women aged between 25 and 34 having smear tests in the district and across the UK has declined over the last few years, leaving many at risk of developing cervical cancer.
The test can detect abnormal cells that develop before cancer. By taking a smear test when invited by their GP, women give themselves the best chance of detecting pre-cancerous cells, which can be easily treated.
Dr Jill Farrington, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Calderdale, said: “I would encourage women to make an appointment for their smear test when they receive an invitation. Women can sometimes be put off attending a test because they may feel uncomfortable, or they may be worried about the outcome of the test. However, it really is the best way to prevent cancer before it develops.
“Having a smear test takes just a few minutes. Women have the choice of a female doctor or nurse, and they can also bring a friend for support if they wish.
“The test can detect any abnormalities or changes in the cervix which, if left untreated, could lead to cervical cancer.”
Women will receive a letter asking them to make an appointment for screening. They can choose whether to have it done at their GP practice or sexual health clinic.
Most women receive a normal result, which means that the cells were considered to be normal. These women are recalled for another routine test within three to five years.