Women urged to attend screening appointments

WHILE women across Scotland are compiling lists of things to do this January as they make their New Year resolutions. NHS Scotland is asking them to add one life-saving task to their list, to attend their cervical screening appointment.

All women aged 20 – 60 across Scotland are invited to have a free, quick, cervical screening test every three years. Despite this invitation some never take up their appointment.

Many young women will now have received the HPV Immunisation which helps protect against the virus which can cause cervical cancer but NHS Borders are urging these women to also attend their cervical screening appointments. This brings together cervical cancer prevention for young women through the HPV immunisation programme with ongoing screening for those over 20 years. It is vital that each year these young women take up their invitation to provide ongoing protection.  

Carol Colquhoun, National Screening Programme co-ordinator said: “We want to encourage as many women as possible to go for their cervical screening test by putting it on their list of things to do.

“Every year in Scotland more than 400,000 women are invited for screening and a quarter of them do not take up the invitation.”

 Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: “Cervical screening saves lives, it’s as simple as that. We’re all very busy but it’s really one thing you must make time for this year.

“If you’re invited for a cervical screening test it’s critical that you take up the invitation.

“The HPV vaccine is a fantastic step forward that will immunise young women against the virus that causes around two thirds of cases of cervical cancer, but it’s not enough on its own. It is vital that all women, whether they have been immunised or not, take up their invitation to have a cervical screening test.”

Dr Tim Patterson, public health consultant for NHS Borders, added: “Cervical cancer can strike women at any age which is why women as young as 20 are offered cervical screening, even if they have had the HPV vaccine. “