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Almost half of women have delayed life-saving cervical cancer tests because they could not get an appointment at their GP surgery, a poll reveals today.
Experts said the procedure was becoming increasing ‘inaccessible’ due to a shortage of available slots at under-pressure surgeries.
Quarter - Women - Test - Consultation
More than a quarter of women say they have missed their smear test altogether because they were unable to make a consultation.
For a fifth, this had happened ‘multiple’ times, with some admitting they had waited five years before eventually being screened.
Screening - Attendance - Level - Decades - Cent
Cervical screening attendance is at its worst level in two decades and just 71 per cent of the eligible population are up-to-date on their tests.
Campaigners said women who had finally plucked up the courage to pick up the phone were then put off by the long waits and lack of appointments.
Cancer - Form - Cancer - Cases - UK
Cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer in the under-35s and there are 3,200 new cases in the UK each year, and 1,000 deaths.
But this mortality rate would be significantly higher were it not for the NHS’s screening programme, which detects abnormal cells before they develop into tumours.
Women - Tests - Years - Ages - Years
Women are invited to have smear tests every three years from the ages of 25 to 49, and then every five years up to the age of 65.
But many GP surgeries are understaffed and struggling to meet the needs of their patients, particularly in areas where the population is rising.
Test - Clinics - Day - Week - Holiday
Some can only offer smear test clinics on one day a week or only have one nurse to carry them out, who may be on holiday or off sick.
Many GP practices have long waiting lists and consultations are frequently cancelled at the last minute, when women have already booked time off work.
Survey - Women - Jo - Cervical - Cancer
The survey of 2,037 women, conducted by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust on behalf of the Daily Mail, found that...
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