I was disturbed to read in the MEN last weekthat women under the age of 25 are routinely turned away and denied a smear test by their general practitioner.
Unprotected sex and protected sex is proven to cause the majority of cervical cancer cases. With women becoming sexually active at a younger age, is it not time for an independent review, 10 years on from the last one? The screening age in England was increased from 20 to 25 in 2003 under the previous Government because health bosses claimed the test did more harm than good in younger women.
Cervical cancer is the second most common form of cancer in women under 35, following breast cancer. Women over 25 are invited for smear tests and girls under the age of 18 are offered a vaccination against the HPV virus, a major cause of cervical cancer. However those between the age of 18 and 25 are left out feeling frustrated.
The government has campaigned to encourage women to look out for signs of abnormalities; it seems counterintuitive to deny women between the ages of 18 and 25 the chance to do this.
I recently showed my support for cervical cancer awareness week, by signing EDM 200 recognising that there needs to be an investment in targeted education and awareness campaigns.