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  1. ITV Report

Number of women attending smear tests at its lowest level for more than a decade

Research has found almost three quarters of young women in Wales who delay or don’t go for cervical screening feel scared. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

The number of women going for their smear tests in Wales is at its lowest for more than a decade.

Last year, 184,000 women did not attend their smear test sparking concern that rates of cervical cancer could increase. The figures come at the start of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week which shows the rates of women having smears is at a 20 year-low across the UK.

80%
of women feel embarrassed at the thought of a test.
184,000
women did not attend their smear test last year.
Jessica became one of the youngest women in Britain to be diagnosed with the cancer when she was just 18-years-old. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Jessica Jenkins from Rhymney, had a hysterectomy after being diagnosed with cervical cancer. She became one of the youngest women in Britain to be diagnosed with the cancer when she was just 18-years-old leaving her infertile.

Her treatment meant she'd never give birth, so her own mother became a surrogate for her son.

Jess Jenkins' Mum was the surrogate for her son after having a hysterectomy. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

"There are no words to describe it, and I'm so thankful to my Mam. She's just given me and my husband everything. At one point I didn't think I was going to have any children at all, but thankfully, I had my eggs collected and my Mam did carry."

She's been heavily involved in raising more awareness of the disease.

80% of young women feel embarrassment at the thought of a test. Credit: PA

Research by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has found almost three quarters of young women in Wales who delay or don’t go for cervical screening feel scared and vulnerable at the thought of going. While 80% of young women feel embarrassment at the thought of a test according to a survey by the cancer trust.

With smear test attendance plummeting, uptake in Wales is now at a 12-year low according to the charity.

75%
of young women who delay or don’t go for cervical screening feel scared.

The Trust say they're concerned that more than two thirds of the 2,005 25-35 year olds questioned say they wouldn’t tell their nurse their smear test worries, with almost half admitting they regularly delay or don’t take up their invitation.

Smear tests provide the best protection against cervical cancer yet we know they aren’t always easy. We want women to feel comfortable talking to their nurse and asking questions. It’s not making a fuss and there are many ways to make the test easier. Please don’t let your fears stop you booking a test.

– Robert Music, Chief Executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

A #SmearForSmear campaign during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week to tackle the decline.

Watch Hannah Thomas' report here:

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