WOMEN over 25 are urged to attend cervical screenings across the district.

The plea has been issued as figures show fewer women are having the tests.

As part of the NHS screening programme, women aged 25 to 49 are invited for a smear test at their GP practice every three years, while those in the 50-64 bracket receive an invitation every five years.

But many aren’t taking up the offer.

Now, a campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the screening and promote its importance.

Ralph Saunders, head of public health at Bradford Council, said: “Cervical screening is not a test for cancer but for detecting early abnormalities, which can be treated before it even gets started.

“This is why everyone invited should get screened.”

NHS Digital statistics show that in Bradford district, a third of women aged 25 to 49 invited for screening and one fifth in the 50-64 category don’t attend.

Dr Anne Connolly, for the Bradford NHS clinical commissioning groups, said: “Any woman is at risk of developing cervical cancer.

“It is very concerning that the number of women in Bradford attending their smear test is decreasing.

“It’s vital for women to attend when called, as this will save lives.

“The test takes just minutes and can be performed at a GP surgery by the practice nurse or doctor or, if preferred, a local contraception service.

“Most women’s test results show that everything is normal, but for about one in 20 women, the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.

“The symptoms of cervical cancer aren’t always obvious and it may not cause any symptoms at all until it’s reached an advanced stage. This is why it’s very important for women to attend all of their cervical screening appointments.”

Her comments are echoed by Dr Yasmin Khan, associate medical director at NHS England in Yorkshire and the Humber, who said: “For some people the thought of going for a cervical smear test can be embarrassing. Often people think it’s painful or it can seem a scary or daunting prospect for other reasons.

“However, the test takes five minutes, it’s painless and you really can’t put a price on taking the right steps early to protect your health.

“It’s estimated that early detection and treatment through cervical screening can prevent up to 75 per cent of cervical cancers from developing in the UK.

“Therefore, we want to urge all women who are eligible to attend their smear when they are invited.”

Visit nhs.uk/Conditions/Cervical-screening-test for more details.