Western Isles women urged to access cervical screening programmes

Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant is urging more women in the Western Isles to go for potentially life-saving cervical screening.

Statistics obtained by the MSP through a series of Parliamentary Questions to Minister for Public Health Shona Robison show that while the numbers of women being screened has been going up over the past few years they are still low, especially in the younger age group.

In the NHS Western Isles area in 2006-07 the proportion of women aged between 20 and 24 going for screening was 54.3% and it only rose to 55.8.% in 2009-10, a small rise but still well short of the desired take up.

Rhoda Grant said: “While it is heartening to see a slightly increased take up by women in this age group over a third of them did not have a screening last year. Cervical screening, which can detct the early signs of cervical cancer, should remain an important routine every three years for women between the ages of 20 and 60.

“None of us can be complacent about the dangers of cervical cancer. The HPV immunisation programme for girls in the 12-13 age group can help protect them from some forms of cervical cancer, but it is not the remedy. For young women screening will continue to be their best safeguard.”