A leading doctor from Yeadon is urging women to go for cervical screenings.
Dr Adrian Rees, clinical lead for cancer with the Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group, is among health leaders in the city stressing the importance of the test.
“We urge all women to take up their invitation for a cervical screening test which checks the health of the cervix,” he said. “For many women the test results show that everything is fine, but for about one in 20 women, the test shows changes in cells.”
Dr Rees, a partner based at Yeadon Tarn Medical Practice, added: “These changes can be caused by many things and most will not lead to cervical cancer. However, the signs that it may develop can be spotted early on, so it can be stopped before it even gets started.
“Not going for cervical screening is one of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer.”
The appeal to women was made in support of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, which is running until Saturday.
Since smear tests were introduced in the 1980s, the number of cervical cancer cases has decreased by about seven per cent each year.
But around 20 per cent of women aged between 25 and 64 don’t take up their invitation to be screened.
Around 750 women in England die of cervical cancer each year – but experts say it is usually possible to treat the condition using surgery if it is diagnosed at an early stage.
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “Although most women attend their cervical screening, I’m really keen to help raise awareness that prevention of cervical cancer is still a priority for the one in five who don’t.
“Screening means any potential problems can be picked up early, which we know means treatment is much more likely to be successful.”
Because of the success of the NHS screening programme, cervical cancer is now an uncommon type of cancer in the UK. Around 3,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the UK.