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Young women 'lack knowledge' about cervical cancer

Close to a third of women (31%) do not know what causes cervical cancer, new research has revealed. 

And over half (54%) of women fail to link the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) to the development of cervical cancer, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust showed. 

Just 16% of women see non-attendance of cervical screening as a risk factor. 

Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust has called for more to be done to reverse a continual decline in cervical screening uptake in the UK. 

A third of 25-29 year olds do not take up their first cervical cancer screening invitation. Incidence in this age range is at the second highest since 1996, with the most recent figures showing that it has increased by 29% in a year. 

Of those surveyed, 13.7% believe screening checks the health of the womb, and one in 10 women aged 25-29 thought it was a test for sexually transmitted diseases. 

Over a quarter (26%) worried the procedure would be painful and embarrassing. For those aged 60-64 and potentially facing their last screening, reasons for delaying the test included having a previous bad experience (16.4%) and experiencing pain since going through the menopause (14.7%). 

Robert Music, chief executive for Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust said: "The study shows a clear need to educate women on the causes of cervical cancer and the purpose of cervical screening. 

“Currently just under 3,000 UK women are diagnosed each year and if those who are delaying their screening continue to misunderstand the disease and how it can be prevented, then we are concerned that screening uptake will continue to fall and incidence will start to rise.”