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  1. ITV Report

Third of women in their twenties not attending cervical smear tests

A third of women under 30 in Wales are not attending their regular cervical screenings, according to new research.

Public Health Wales has launched a new campaign to encourage more women to book a smear test.

Dr Mair Hopkin demonstrates what the screening involves.

The findings by Cervical Screening Wales suggest women that attend their first cervical screening, or smear test, when they are 25 are more likely to attend in the future.

Women aged 25 to 49 years are invited for a smear test every three years - with women over 50 are invited very five years.

Cervical cancer is the most common type of cancer in women under 35 years old.

160
Women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in Wales.

The death of TV reality personality Jade Goody in 2009 saw requests for cervical screening, particularly among young women in the UK, increase significantly.

This trend, known as the 'Jade Goody effect' has declined in the last decade to a 20-year-low, with government campaigns launching across the UK in an attempt to raise awareness.

Jade Goody died after being diagnosed with cervical cancer Credit: PA Images

Cervical Screening Wales hope the campaign will encourage women to be "more body-positive".

Dr Mair Hopkin shows what's used in a smear test.

Louise Dunk, Head of Programmes for the group, said issues around "embarrassment and body shame" are reasons regularly given for why women are not attending their cervical screening

The fall in cervical screening uptake rates is a serious public health issue facing the whole of the UK. Cervical screening saves lives. It’s as simple as that. By not making an appointment you are missing the chance of preventing cervical cancer from developing, or picking it up at an early stage when it is more treatable. We know that women aged between 25 and 29 are the least likely age group to have their smear. The reasons behind this are complex but issues around embarrassment and body shame are commonly cited.

– Louise Dunk, Cervical Screening Wales

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The #loveyour cervix campaign is part of a growing movement to raise awareness of cervical cancer, and break down the stigma around cervical screening.

Read more: Salon offering free waxes to women if they book a smear test to raise awareness