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Women urged to overcome smear fears

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By Fiona Reid
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Women urged to overcome smear fears

A PLEA has gone out to women locally to take up the chance of cervical screening - after new figures reveal testing in the region is at an all time low.

The uptake for smear tests in Dumfries and Galloway was 74 per cent last year – down on previous years.
And it has worried health experts.
Reacting, Robert Music, of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “It is extremely disappointing and concerning to see uptake of cervical screening has fallen again.
“Three women lose their lives to cervical cancer every single day in the UK and not attending cervical screening is the biggest risk factor to developing the disease.”
He revealed that incidences of cervical cancer in Scotland have increased by 21 per cent in the last year and added: “If we continue to see uptake decrease we are likely to see even more diagnoses and more lives lost to the disease.
“Cervical screening is a five minute test, but it is one that could save your life and I want to encourage all women to attend their screening when invited.”
Between 2010-2014, 45 women in Dumfries and Galloway were diagnosed with cervical cancer.
According to the figures from the ISD website, they were aged between 20 and 89.
During this year’s Cervical Screening Awareness Week, senior Dumfriesshire practice nurse Janette Anderson had a reassuring message to anyone worried about getting a smear.
She said: “We’re here waiting to help protect you from cervical cancer.
“I’ve done hundreds, if not thousands, of smear tests during my career and afterwards, most women – especially those that it’s their first time – are surprised by how quickly it’s all over.
“Of course, it can be a nervous time for some women but, remember, there’s no such thing as a silly question, that’s what we’re here for.”
She added: “So, don’t ignore your invite when it pops through your letterbox, or forget about it completely, it could save your life.”

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