East Ren women sign up for cancer screening

WOMEN in East Renfrewshire are among the highest attendees for cervical screenings across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde — but Glasgow is trailing behind.

Figures from the Public Health Screening Programmes annual report show that 82 per cent of East Ren attended a smear test when invited — above the national target of 80%.

Across Scotland, an average 75.1% accepted the invitation — sent out every three years to women aged 20-60 — but in Glasgow, the figures dropped as low as 65.7% (in the north west of the city), and 74.6% in Glasgow south.

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Emilia Crighton, consultant in pulic health medicine, said: “While the majority of women who are invited for a smear test attend — and the women of East Renfrewshireshould be congratulated as for the third year in a row they are just above the national target — it is still worrying that 18 per cent of women are not taking advantage of his service.”

A regular smear test checks for early cell changes, caused by one of over 100 strains of the human papillomavarius (HPV) — estimated to affect around 80% of people of reproductive age — which could develop into cervical cancer.

Dr Crighton explained: “Most women are infected with HPV at some point in their lives but will probably never know — HPV is usually cleared by the body’s immune system.

“There are usually no symptoms with an HPV infection and sometimes no symptoms with early stage cervical cancer, so the only way to really check is to attend your screening test, which takes less than five minutes but could save your life.

“With early detection and treatment, up to 75% of cervical cancers can be stopped from developing.”