Local MSP Jackie Baillie has expressed her concern about a decline in the number of local women taking up their cervical screening invitation according to the latest figures.

Figures released this month show that almost a quarter of Scottish women could be putting themselves at risk of developing cervical cancer by not attending screening. Greater Glasgow continues to have the lowest screening uptake with an average of only 71.5% across all age groups attending screening every five years. In NHS Highland there was a 73.5% attendance rate among eligible women.

The figures come at the start of Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month which aims to raise awareness of cancers such as cervical cancer which affects eight UK women every day. In Scotland incidence of cervical cancer has risen across almost all eligible age groups.

Currently, in Scotland women are invited to attend cervical screening from ages 20-60 every three years. This will change in April 2016 when the country falls in line with the rest of the UK, screening women aged 25-49 every three years and 50-64 year olds every five years.

Jackie said:

“Over the past 10 years uptake has decreased by 7% and the latest figures show that more and more Scottish women are not being screened for cervical cancer.  It’s clear that we need to do more to make it easier for local women to attend screening and I hope that Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month helps to reduce the stigma and embarrassment that acts as a barrier for some women. The frequency of appointments will change from next year so we also need a high-profile campaign to raise awareness of the importance of the test and avoid any confusion.”

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