NEW figures from Public Health England show 21,258 eligible women in Wirral have missed their cervical screenings, also known as their “smear test” in recent years.

During Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, which runs from January 20 to January 27, health chiefs are urging these women to make sure they’re up to date with their screening.

Most recent data for the three-to-five- year period up to June 2019 shows that in Wirral, 13,158 women aged 25 to 49 went unscreened while a further 8,100 women in the 50 to 64 group also missed their smear test.

Cllr Chris Jones, cabinet member for adult care and health, said: “Cervical screening is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from the risk of cervical cancer.

“While it’s not the nicest thing in the world, it’s relatively quick and, most importantly, screening can stop cancer before it starts and saves thousands of lives every year. I would urge anyone who thinks they may have missed a screening to call their GP and check.”

Due to the introduction of HPV vaccination for 12-to-13-year-old girls in 2008, which was extended to 12-13-year-old boys in 2019, considerable reductions in cervical cancer diagnoses are expected in years to come. But the vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer so whether you’ve been vaccinated or not, it’s still very important to go for screening.

Julie Webster, council director for health and wellbeing, said: “In Wirral most eligible women attend their cervical screenings with nearly three-in-four women being tested regularly.

“It’s estimated that if everyone who’s eligible responded to their cervical screening letter, 83% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented. Anybody with a cervix is at risk including women who have had partial hysterectomies, women who’ve been through menopause or had the HPV vaccine, and trans and non-binary people.

“That’s why it’s so important that if you’ve received an invitation, join the majority - make sure you respond and get screened regularly.”