17 February 2011
Marlyn Glen has welcomed news of a slight overall increase in the number of women in Tayside attending cervical screening across most age groups in the past four years.
However, amongst the 20-24 age group the numbers attending cervical screening sessions remain significantly lower than all other age groups under the age of 60.
An answer to a Parliamentary question tabled by Ms Glen indicated that the percentage of those in the 20-24 age group attending screening programmes in the past three and a half years had risen overall by 3 per cent to just over 56 per cent in the four-year period between 2006 and 2010.
However, this figure was below the attendance rate between 2000 and 2005 when the highest attendance was 64 per cent.
Similarly the percentage of those in the 20-24 age group attending screening programmes in the past five and a half years had risen overall by 1 per cent to almost 58 per cent in the same four-year period between 2006 and 2010.
This figure was below the attendance rate between 1997 and 2006 when the highest attendance was 68 per cent ( 67.9 in 2000-01)
Ms. Glen said that an NHS Health Scotland study on “identifying and exploring attitudes leading to a low uptake of cervical screening” had been published 18 months ago.
” The study found that the major difference between those women who attended and those who did not was that non-attenders did not regard cervical cancer as a significant risk, unlike breast cancer.
“The consequent lack of knowledge could then allow distortion of information to influence their decision not to attend.
” These could include that there was no risk if the woman was not currently sexually active.
” Public awareness of cervical cancer was certainly certain raised by the death of Jane Goody .
” Certainly, a heightened public awareness would encourage non-attenders to think again about cervical screening.”
Ms. Glen said that she would be questioning the Scottish Government on how the recommendations in the study were being implemented on raising awareness of cervical cancer.