Women warned: Vaccine 'is not a smear replacement'

Women in Britain have been encouraged to continue to attend regular cervical smear tests, even if they have received the HPV vaccine.

Consultant gynaecologist, Mr Paul Carter, has highlighted concerns that the increases in smear tests seen while Jade Goody was in the headlines, could fade away as women may develop "a false sense of security" from taking the vaccine.

The doctor added: "It's important that women understand the importance of attending for cervical smears, which are estimated to prevent 4,000 to 5,000 cases of cervical cancer a year, in the UK."

Women aged between 25 and 65 in England are recommended to attend regular cervical screenings, whether they have received the vaccine or not.

This is because the vaccination will only protect against two-thirds of cancer caused by HPVs.

The doctor, who is a leading clinician for treating abnormal smears at St Georges Hospital and Harley Street, added that the increasing numbers of women coming forward for smears last year had put a "huge strain" on primary care and laboratory practices.

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