Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 15 to 34 in Scotland, (NHS Inform, 2015) with approximately 300 new cases diagnosed each year across the country. The most effective way to prevent cervical cancer is by being vaccinated against Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, and through regularly taking part in cervical screening. The HPV vaccine protects against HPV types 16 and 18 which together are responsible for 75% of cervical cancers. The vaccine also provides some cross-protection against types 31, 33, and 45, thus increasing protection up to 80%. As the vaccine does not protect women against all the high risk types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer it’s essential that women who have been vaccinated still attend for cervical screening. Vaccination and regularly taking part in cervical screening offers the best protection against cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is largely preventable and, if caught early, survival rates are high. Unfortunately uptake of cervical screening is in decline across Scotland.
More information is available in the cervical screening section within the NHS Inform website
Age and frequency change reminder:
From 6th June 2016 the age at which young women will be invited for their first cervical screening will change from 20 to 25 years. The frequency of cervical screening will continue to be every three years for women aged 25 to 50, but will change to every five years for women aged 50 to 64.