THE LANARKSHIRE health board is calling on women to take part in a smear test as part of Cervical Screening Awareness Week.

A consultant from the NHS is encouraging anyone who missed their last appointment to reschedule with their GP as it can save their life.

Cervical screening tests, also known as smear tests, now screen for the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the main cause of cervical cancer.

Celia Briffa-Watt, NHS Lanarkshire public health consultant, said: “Screening for HPV helps to ensure cell changes that could develop into cervical cancer are identified and treated earlier.

“Women who are found to have HPV will be closely monitored and treated, if required, meaning HPV is extremely unlikely to develop into cervical cancer.”

Cervical Screening Awareness Week, which is between Monday, June 20 and Sunday, June 26, is organised by the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

It aims to reduce confusion about HPV and raise awareness of the importance of cervical screening and get people talking about the screening test.  

READ MORE: Teen Barrhead mum heartbroken after ‘happy’ baby dies in her arms

Ms Briffa-Watt added: “Women aged between 25 and 64 will receive a cervical screening invite but less than 80% of them will take up the offer in Lanarkshire. We need more women to have screening to prevent more cases of cervical cancer, the treatment associated with cancer including hysterectomy, and reduce deaths.

“The test only takes a few minutes and will be carried out by an experienced female smear taker who does this testing all the time. The change to include HPV screening in 2020 means we have an even more effective test now.

“I know women will worry about the results when they have a smear test, I do too, but over 90% of us will be given the all-clear.

“I’m sure some will have put off their screening across the pandemic and now is the time to catch up. If you didn’t attend your last appointment, or the ones before that, I urge you to call your GP.

"Screening services are open and it’s important you make and attend your appointment, however late. The female smear taker will be able to answer any questions you may have.”