Recently I was interviewing people for an article on what the minimum age should be for cervical smears in England, as it is higher than it is in the rest of the UK. The overwhelming consensus was that it wasn’t very clear, but what was certain was that women not turning up for their smears when they are first called was a major cause for concern.
The NHS announced today that they are injecting £250,000 into a campaign to tackle the falling numbers of women who turn up to their screening appointments in England, and it isn’t a moment too soon.
Its epidemiology 101 that you need to have 80% of the population covered in a screening programme for it to be most effective. Current figures for 25-29 year-olds are at 66.2%. I won’t bore you with the view that raising the minimum age is hardly going to encourage people to go; the figure stands alone.
However, maybe it isn’t all doom and gloom. Speaking to Robert Music at Jo’s Trust (a cervical cancer support charity) recently he claimed that a London hospital had told him the number of requests for smears had shot up from around 250 per week to around 750 since Jade Goody’s diagnosis. Every cloud…