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Smear test uptake on the rise

There has been a 20% increase in the number of women coming forward for cervical cancer screening in Scotland following the death of reality TV star Jade Goody from the disease, health officials said.

According to figures released by NHS Scotland, over 450,500 women had a cervical smear in the year to March 2009 - a 20% year-on-year increase.

The rise indicates that 75,000 extra tests have been carried out this year compared to 2008. This is also the largest number of smears in any one year since 2001/02.

About three-quarters of eligible women had already been screened in the previous three-and-half years, with the biggest rise (6%) among women aged between 20-24 years. Uptake rates have increased across all NHS boards.

Public health minister Shona Robison and cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support welcomed the news.

Ms Robison said: "This is clear proof that being more open about this illness and the need for screening can and does encourage women to come forward.

"Openness about screening and cancer is paramount - more than anything, that is what will ultimately save lives."

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