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Ministers urged on cancer screening

Women under the age of 25 should be screened for cervical cancer, a charity claims.

The government has already announced plans to vaccinate girls in England up to the age of 18 against the sexually transmitted infection human papillomavirus (HPV).

However, women are not invited for smear tests until they reach the age of 25, meaning those between 18 to 25 could be at risk, the group Jo's Trust claims.

Charity director Pamela Morton said she is delighted the vaccination programme is being rolled out, but she believes some young women are not being protected.

Cervical cancer deaths could be "reduced significantly" if all women attended screening, and parents allowed their daughters to be vaccinated against HPV, she added.

But a Department of Health spokesman said: "Last year's announcement of a cervical cancer immunisation programme could potentially save around 400 lives a year.

"This preventative approach means a shift in focus from a sickness service to a wellbeing service.

"Research published by Cancer Research UK has shown that screening women under 25 may do more harm than good - patients may undergo unnecessary investigations after results suggest they appear to have cervical abnormalities when in reality it is just their cervix still developing."

Jo's Trust

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