Screening cuts cervical cancer rates by half
In the wake of Jade Goody's tragic story, the latest Cancer Research UK statistics
reveal that there is hope on the horizon for cervical cancer.
The figures show that women are now half as likely to be diagnosed with cervical
cancer as they were when the NHS Cervical Screening Programme began in 1988.
The rate of women diagnosed with the disease has halved from 16 per 100,000
in 1988 to 8 per 100,000 according to the latest figures.
In the late 1980s around 4,800 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer each
year in Great Britain. Now, after 20 years of screening only around 2,700 women
are diagnosed with the disease.
Before the programme started cervical cancer was the sixth most commonly diagnosed
cancer in women. But because of screening, twenty years later, it is now ranked
Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK's director of health information, said:
"These compelling figures show how effective the programme has been
in preventing the disease and saving lives. Screening works by picking up
early changes in the cervix before they can develop into cancer."
The number of deaths from cervical cancer has also seen a huge drop. Twenty
years ago more than 2,000 women died in Britain every year from the disease
compared to 921 in 2006. This means cervical cancer is no longer one of the
top 20 most common causes of cancer death.
But, the latest reports show that the number of women taking up their invitations
for screening is falling, particularly among those aged 25-34.
Sara Hiom said:
"Even though cervical cancer is no longer in the top 10 of all
cancers, it is still the second most common cancer for women under the age
of 35. Crucially, women must attend screening as soon as they receive the
invitation letter from their GP – it could save their lives. If signs
of the disease are picked up early then treatment is easy and effective."