Abandoning cancer tests endangering women

Young women at risk of cancer as screening tests abandoned

A new report warns that young women in Britain are at risk of developing cervical cancer because they are no longer routinely screened.

In Wales and Scotland screening is still carried out from the age of 20, however in England women from 20 to 24 were removed from the national cervical cancer screening programme in 2004 because of relatively few cancers being detected.

However, researchers in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care say this could put women at a higher risk of developing the cancer.

Professor Alison Fiander from Cardiff University explains that in Wales doctors see approximately 350 cases a year of women aged 20 to 24 with dangerous pre-cancerous cervical cells.

Professor Fiander commented: ‘Women between 20 and 25 are going to miss out on both screening and cervical cancer vaccination.The vaccination programme does not include women over 18, and if they are not invited for smears until they are 25, there are several years where nothing is being done for them.’

She went on to claim that even is screening is less effective, medical researchers should look at ways of improving it, instead of abandoning screening altogether in this age group.

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