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Wednesday 21st March 2018

Women missing smear tests

7th January 2010

A study published in the Journal of Medical Screening has suggested that women are often too busy to attend cervical smear screenings.


The study indicates that practical reasons rather than emotional factors such as embarrassment or fear could be more significant than emotional ones in explaining why many women miss smear tests.

A team from the charity Cancer Research UK looked at the issue of voting in elections and cervical screenings and time availability for each and found that women could simply be too busy for either activity.

The issue was most noticeable in women aged 26-44.

Researcher Dr Jo Waller from the charity said: "With uptake of cervical screening in England still much lower than we would like, these findings suggest that overcoming practical barriers may be the most important factor in maximising cervical screening uptake.

"These results are encouraging. In the past, it was thought that emotional factors such as concern about embarrassment and pain were the best predictors. Minimising practical difficulties is a more achievable goal.

"In terms of the correlation between voting and screening attendance, it may be that as both activities require a degree of organisation, women who do not manage to vote because of busy lives may also be unlikely to attend screening."

Researchers say evening or weekend screenings could help minimise practical and organisational difficulties for women.

Figures suggest that cervical screening saves about 4,500 lives every year.

A US study in the same journal suggests that the more children in a household, the lower the cancer screening attendance.


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