Research has suggested that older women are avoiding their cervical smear tests out of embarrassment.
Published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obestetrics and Gynaecology, the study noted that older women tend to avoid the cervical cancer screening out of embarrassment or fear of pain.
Younger women, however, were largely too busy to make an appointment and found it difficult to fit in a screening around their menstrual cycle.
Dr Jo Waller, study author, commented: "We've found that there are age differences in barriers to screening and evidence which suggests that addressing practical issues such as appointment systems and clinic times might boost attendance in young women, whereas there appears to be a need to educate the older groups of the importance of making an appointment."
Meanwhile, Cancer Research UK's director of health information Sara Hiom explained that the tests are particularly important since "cervical cancer is one of the few cancers that can actually be prevented through screening by picking up early changes in the cells before the disease develops".