A major study suggests that increased levels of cancer screening could save hundreds of lives of those suffering from cervical cancer.
The British Journal of Cancer suggested that all those eligible should attend regular screening in order to address this debilitating condition.
Nearly 2,000 women’s lives are saved as a result of cervical cancer screening in England each year, according to a report published in the journal.
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London suggested that screening can have a particularly significant impact on women aged between 50 and 64.
Approximately 800 women die from cervical cancer in England on an annual basis, and screening is regularly offered to women in the UK aged between 25 and 64.
Between 25 and 49, women are invited for screening every three years, and up to the age of 64, every five years.
Researchers assessed records of over 11,000 women in England, all of whom had previously been diagnosed with cervical cancer.
And scientists discovered that 315 lives could be saved annually if all of those diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 64 were screened on a regular basis.
Prof Peter Sasieni, lead researcher based at Queen Mary University of London, noted that the screening program had already been hugely successful in saving lives, and that extending it would only be a positive thing for cancer sufferers.
“The cervical screening programme already prevents thousands of cancers each year and as it continues to improve, by testing all samples for the human papilloma virus (HPV), even more women are likely to avoid this disease”.
Equally, Dr Claire Knight, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, recommended that women should take up the offer to attend cervical screening when invited.
“It’s important to remember that cervical screening is for women without symptoms. Women who have any unusual or persistent bleeding, pain, or change in vaginal discharge – even if they’ve been screened recently and whatever their age – should get it checked out by their GP”.
There were around 3,200 new cases of cervical cancer in the UK in 2013, around 9 cases diagnosed every day.
This means that cervical cancer is the 20th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for just under 1% of all new cases in Britain.
But in females in the UK, cervical cancer is the 12th most common cancer, with around 3,200 cases diagnosed in 2013.
More than half (52%) of cervical cancer cases in the UK each year are diagnosed in females aged under 45 (2011-2013).
Since the late 1970s, cervical cancer incidence rates in females have decreased by more than two-fifths (44%) in Great Britain.