Last year in Dumfries and Galloway, 80 per cent of 20-60 year olds attended for screening – a drop of one per cent on the year before.
And the regional decrease mirrors the national picture, with a drop in women across Scotland going for smears, down to 76 per cent.
Health bosses are worried that almost a quarter of eligible females could be putting themselves at risk of developing cervical cancer.
And they say that in Scotland cases of cervical cancer have risen across almost all eligible age groups.
Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “The cervical screening programme saves around 5000 lives in the UK every year, yet we continue to see more and more women not taking up their cervical screening invitation promptly.
“We know that various barriers to screening exist such as fear and embarrassment, a lack of knowledge about the test, cultural and language barriers as well as being unable to take time off work. This needs to be urgently addressed.”
Here at Be, we agree and would urge all readers to take up their invitation for a cervical smear.