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More cervical screening tests processed

Published: 1 Sep 2015 10:30

Statistics on cervical screening programme published.

Seven out of ten eligible women in Scotland took up the invitation for cervical screening over the three and a half year period to 31st March 2015.

Figures published this morning by ISD Scotland also show that 397,673 tests were processed between April 2014 and March 2015; an increase of 3.5 per cent compared to the previous year.

Of all tests processed, 97.3 per cent were of satisfactory quality, meaning there were enough cells in the sample.

Of those, 91 per cent of tests had a negative (normal) result, 7.7 per cent had a low grade cell change and the remaining 1.3 per cent had high grade cell changes.

Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said:

"The earlier a cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat. We know that screening is the best way to detect cervical cancer at its earliest stage.

"Through our £39 million Detect Cancer Early programme we aim to increase the proportion of cancers detected at the early stage of disease and raise awareness of all cancers and screening programmes amongst the public and health professionals, and crucially, save more lives each year.

"While 70.4 per cent of eligible women took up their invitation to be screened for cervical cancer in the last three and a half years, the Scottish Government continues to work with health boards on local initiatives to increase uptake of the programme."

Notes to editors

Full access to the statistical publication can be accessed on the ISD Scotland website:

Cervical screening is routinely offered to women aged 20-60 in Scotland every three years. The screening is to identify cell changes in the cervix which could develop to be cancerous. Cervical screening has been shown to reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality. Changes in cells identified at an early stage can be easily treated and treatment is usually very effective.

Abnormal results are reported in two different ways:

  • Low grade or borderline cell changes (also called low grade dyskaryosis)
  • High grade cell changes which are moderate or severe (also called high grade dyskaryosis).

Dyskaryosis is a medical term to describe cell changes which could develop to be cancerous.