Women who were sexually abused in childhood are less likely to attend cervical cancer screenings than other women, research suggests.
The National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme said that 78.6% of eligible women had been screened at least once in the previous five years.
But researchers found that only 77.5% of abused women had ever had a smear test and of those, only 48.5% had been screened in the last five years.
Researchers examined 135 women who used the website National association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC).
The research, published in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, also identified several barriers which make women avoid smear tests, including fear and anxiety and a lack of sensitivity by the healthcare worker administering the smear.
The Best Cancer-Fighting Foods
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a super strong antioxidant that helps keep stomach, prostate and lung cancer away.
Cabbages contain cancer-fighting indole-3-carbinol, which are said to help ward off cancer. Brocolli is a well-known cancer busting vegetable as its glucoraphanin enzyme protects the body from rectum and colon cancer.
Containing a rich source of antioxidant lycopene, they protect the body from various cancer cells, plus it's also packed with vitamin C, which helps strengthen the body's immune system.
Garlic isn't just a great way to flavor our food, but it's a clever way of incorporating a cancer-busting food into our diet. Garlic is proven to boost immunity, which helps our body fight against nasty cancerous cells. Chives, leeks and onions are also part of the allium vegetable group, which help reduce the risks of stomach, colon and prostate cancer.
Flax seeds contain a strong antioxidants called ligans which help keep cells healthy and safe from cancerous cells. They also contain Omega-3, which are believed to prevent colon cancer.
Rated as one fo the highest antioxidant foods, blueberries keep the body's cells healthy and full of oxygen, warding off cancerous cells attacking.
In an accompanying editorial, NAPAC training and development manager, Sarah Kelly said: "Common feelings among survivors of sexual abuse include shame, guilt, self-blame and feeling unclean, contaminated or dirty. These feelings can be compounded during the experience of a smear test."