Brighton and Hove cervical cancer screening rates are worst in south east

Posted On 13 Jun 2016 at 8:12 pm

Brighton and Hove has the worst cervical cancer screening take-up rates in the south east, according to figures published today (Monday 13 June).

They came with a warning to women over 50 not to delay having the quick and simple check up.

NHS England said: “Every day nine women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer and three women will lose their lives to the disease.

“Cervical cancer is largely preventable thanks to cervical screening but recent research shows one in three women over 50 report delaying screening.

“Across Kent, Surrey and Sussex figures show more than one in five women aged 50 to 64 are also not attending their screening.


“Research undertaken by cancer charities and an older women’s networking group reveals women over 50 delayed screening by an average of 26 months. And one in ten (10 per cent) delayed for over five years.”

NHS England is supporting Cervical Screening Awareness Week which starts today (Monday 13 June) and runs until Sunday (19 June).

The week is aimed raising awareness of the importance of cervical screening and its role in preventing cancer as well as encouraging women to go for their screening test when invited.

NHS England south east deputy medical director Alison Milroy said: “It is really important for women of all ages to understand the importance of attending cervical screening as it can detect pre-cancer abnormalities, which, if left untreated, may develop into cancer.

“Screening is for people without symptoms as a preventative measure.”

Research undertaken by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Gransnet found

  • One in three women over 50 (32 per cent) did not think cervical screening (smear tests) were part of the healthy upkeep of a woman’s body
  • Almost one in four women (22 per cent) did not think regular screening was important
  • One in three women (33 per cent) have delayed or not attended for the test with an average delay of 26 months and one in ten (10 per cent) delaying for over five years

Dr Milroy, who has been a local GP for more than 20 years, said: “The screening test is relatively simple, takes about five minutes and is performed by the practice nurse at your GP surgery.

“Ninety five per cent of results will be normal and of those that are not, the vast majority can be treated very easily and will never develop into cancer.”

NHS England’s screening and immunisation teams work with GP practices to increase awareness.

In Brighton and Hove – one of 37 districts in Sussex, Surrey and Kent – of more than 80,000 women had been invited for screening in the period to 2015, only 56,000 were screened.

The take-up rate of 70.2 per cent was the lowest across the region. It compared with 75.2 per cent for the south of England and 73.5 per cent for England as a whole.

  1. Councillor Karen Barford Reply

    As someone who has had cervical cancer and needed a total hysterectomy in 2005, I encourage ladies to have regular smears.
    I know it’s easy to put off with busy lives but until I knew it hadn’t spread and could be removed with an operation at Royal Sussex County Hospital, I was desperately thinking about how I would tell my four young children (now adults) – my world collapsed in around me.
    I am grateful every day that it was found at stage one and seeing my children and granddaughter grow up is an absolute blessing. Many people I knew were not so lucky, others were as fortunate as I was.

  2. Karen Reply

    After being concerned at symptoms, and following treatment to remove cells previously, the nurse at my local GP turned down my request for a smear in March as I was not due till October. She said there would be not point doing it early as the labatory would just throw it away. Surely this isn’t right.

  3. Michelle Reply

    Ive had 2 cervical cancer scares since 2011 I had problems went to gp they went to do me a smear but she called the smear people up and they said it’s not worth doing one as they would refuse it as I’m not due for one until next year… I got scan at hospital and find out I got a collapsing cyst on my ovary… And they wonder why people don’t go for them or end up with cervical cancer when signs are there they urge people to get checked but get refused…. Total joke..!!!

  4. Jane Reply

    You need to have the HPV virus to get cervical cancer, and you can buy a home self test kit online for under £50 now. The result comes back in under a week. If you are with a single partner and the result comes back negative, you can’t get cervical cancer unless you become infected with the HPV virus from a new sexual partner. It all boils down to whether you have HPV or not. If you don’t have HPV you are wasting your time getting a smear test, since you are at no risk of this cancer, and the result will be negative. No wonder women are waking up and leaving this programme in droves.

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