Screening cuts cervical cancer rates

The number of women needing cervical cancer treatment in the UK has fallen since the introduction of the national screening programme.

Statistics from Cancer Research UK show that the rate of women diagnosed with the disease has been halved from 16 per 100,000 in 1988 to eight per 100,000.

While around 4,800 women used to be diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the late 1980s, only 2,700 are now diagnosed with the disease each year.

Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, said that the figures show the effectiveness of cervical cancer screening.

"The number of deaths from cervical cancer has also seen a huge drop," she noted.

"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."

Women are regularly invited for screening between the ages of 25 and 64 in England.

This is because cervical cancer is rare in younger women, and because over-65s who have never had positive test results are also very unlikely to develop the disease

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