One in four women in Wales do not attend cervical cancer screening. Cardiff records the nations lowest figure with almost 40,000 women failing to get tested in 2010/11.
For women in the younger and older age groups, numbers slip below the national average with 24.3% of 25 to 29-year-olds and 24.8% of 60 to 64-year-olds missing the test.
The fall in numbers are thought to be blamed on increasingly busy lives, surgery opening times and a fear of the test.
Until the 18th June, buses in Cardiff will carry the message “Cervical screening saves lives” down the side in conjunction with Cervical Screening Awareness Week from 10-16 June.
The charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “There are a whole variety of reasons as to why women are missing out on the test. We’re much busier now, more career-driven and don’t have the time to take time off to fit in with GPs’ opening hours. Some girls have a fear of the test because it’s quite intimate, they think it will hurt.”
Robert Music, director of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “Each year, the UK screening programme saves 5,000 lives, yet one in four Welsh women are not attending their cervical screening test. With such a worrying decline in numbers, our campaign is also targeting Cardiff, where uptake is 73.7% – the lowest in the country”.
“Adverts urging eligible women to get screened will adorn buses across the city with a potential to reach 92% of the city’s population. Another major contributing factor to women not attending is embarrassment and fear of the procedure. We want to reverse this trend by reassuring those who are nervous about the test that it’s a simple five-minute procedure that could save their life”.