Experts call for cervical screening age to be lowered to 20 years old

Cancer specialists have renewed calls for England to lower the cervical cancer screening age to 20.

Consultants at London's Royal Marsden hospital told GPs attending a Cancer in Women education day that England should lower its screening age to detect pre-cancerous signs earlier.

In England women are screened from the age of 25, while other UK countries begin screening at 20.

Medical director Professor Martin Gore said: 'We have quite a strong view here that we should be screening earlier.'

Mr Thomas Ind, a consultant gynaecological surgeon, said screening women aged 20-25 would look for pre-cancerous signs to improve cancer detection in older groups.

Last June, the DoH decided not to lower screening age following the high-profile case of Jade Goody.

The Advisory Committee on Cervical Screening had said there was no evidence screening younger women reduced incidence of cervical cancer, and that screening could do more harm than good.

The DoH recently issued guidance for GPs to help identify and diagnose young women with cervical cancer.

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