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Cervical Cancer: Screening

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 27 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to improve the take up rate among young women for cervical cancer screening. (186386)

Women invited to participate in the national health service cervical screening programme need to understand the potential benefits and harms in doing so and to be able to make an informed choice about whether or not they wish to take part in the programme.

This is why all eligible women receive a national information leaflet on cervical screening, Cervical Screening - The Facts. This leaflet is included with each screening invitation and contains comprehensive and understandable information about cervical screening. It can be viewed at:

The Cancer Reform Strategy noted concerns about the fall in the number of young women taking up their invitation to be screened. That is why the NHS cancer screening programme have commissioned the Improvement Foundation to undertake work at a local level targeting this age group. The lessons learned from this work, due in 2009, will be shared with strategic health authorities and local screening programmes to develop best practice.

The NHS cancer screening programme's press office is developing an information pack to be issued to all local screening programmes and also developing a public relations strategy, including articles in appropriate media publications, posters etc. In addition, Cancer Research UK have commissioned research on this issue, which we will monitor closely and will share the findings.

Continued local action in this area is also essential and we will continue to monitor levels of cervical screening coverage through the Office for National Statistics/Information Centre for health and social care annual cervical screening statistical bulletin.