Fewer women need repeat cervical screens

Cervical cancer screening rates are falling, but improved technology means fewer women need to have tests repeated, figures have revealed.

Over the past 10 years, the proportion of women who are eligible for screening and have had a cervical cancer test in the previous five years fell from 82.5% in 1998 to 78.6% in 2008, data from the NHS Information Centre show.

Fewer women than ever have to have a repeat screen, however, following the introduction of liquid-based cytology (LBC) as a method for taking samples. The use of LBC has cut the number of women needing a repeat test from 300,000 a year to fewer than 100,000.

Tim Straughan, chief executive of the NHS Information Centre, said: ‘Our report shows improved cervical screening technology is continuing to reduce the total number of inadequate samples. Thousands fewer women have to have a repeat screening and suffer the anxiety this entails compared to previous years, while the swiftness of test results is also improving.’

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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