A REMINDER that smear tests can stop cervical cancer before it starts has been issued in a bid to encourage young women not to ignore their next invitation.

The message came as part of the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland’s ‘Flower’ campaign, aiming to get women to nip the cancer ‘in the bud’ by getting the test done.

All women in Scotland aged 25 to 49 are offered a smear test every three years, while those aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years.

But figures show almost a third of women aged 25-34 in the NHS Forth Valley area didn’t go for their smear when invited in 2017/18.

Fiona Mulgrew, lead nurse colposcopist at NHS Forth Valley, said: “The message we want to get across is that we’re here waiting to help protect you from cervical cancer.

“I’ve done hundreds, if not thousands, of smear tests during my career and afterwards, most women – especially those attending for their first time - are surprised by how quickly it’s all over.

“Of course, it can be a nervous time but, remember, there’s no such thing as a silly question or any reason to feel embarrassed – we are always here to provide reassurance and support.

“So, please don’t ignore your invite when it pops through your letterbox, or forget about it completely, it could save your life.”

Anyone unable to attend a smear test is also asked to contact their GP practice to rearrange a time that suits them.

For further information on cervical screening, visit: tinyurl.com/y8gsrhna.  

To see NHS Scotland's 'Flower' campaign video, click here