NHS England has released its lates annual cervical screening statistics, which show that 71.9% of eligible women aged 25-64 were adequately screened in 2018-2019, a 0.5% increase on the previous year.
Women within this age range are invited for regular cervical screening under the programme, the intent of which is to detect abnormalities within the cervix that could, if undetected and untreated, develop into cervical cancer. Within the age range, data showed that coverage in the lower age cohort (25-49) increased to 69.8%, from 69.1% in 2018, and coverage in the upper age cohort (50-64) remained at 76.2%, the same as in 2018.
Further to the findings, the statistics showed that 3.43 million women aged 25-64 tested, marking a successful 7.7% increase on the previous year when 3.18 million women were tested. 82.6% of these women were tested after an invitation from the screening programme, and just 17.4% got the test off their own back.
The NHS data also showed that 4.41 million women in the age range were invited as part of the programme in the last year, unfortunately a decrease of 1.0% on the previous year when 4.46 million women were invited. The decrease in invitations has not seemed to affect the test uptake, however, with the previously demonstrated numbers showing an increase for the first time in five years.
In June this year, a study published in The Lancet found that after five to eight years of vaccination, the prevalence of HPV 16 and 18 decreased significantly by 83% in girls aged 13 to 19 years, and decreased significantly by 66% among women aged 20 to 24 years. The findings led researchers to believe that the eradication of cervical cancer is “a possibility”, sparking new hope.
Professor Marc Brisson, from Laval University, Canada, who led the review, told the BBC: "We will see reductions in women aged 20-30 within the next 10 years."