Cervical cancer is a preventable, treatable disease - but that's not to say it doesn't kill over 1,000 women every year.
A new report devised by Demos has revealed that the number of women in the UK having cervical screenings is at an all time low, particularly those in the 25-29 bracket where just 62% have been tested.
The NHS currently spends approximately £21million a year treating cervical cancer patients, often in circumstances when preventative screenings would have meant early diagnosis, so the urgency to increase up-take is a seriously pressing matter. Why aren't we doing it?
While the report calls for "on the spot" smear tests being available to women at GP surgeries across the UK, I think that we - the demographic actively not responding to invitations - have to hold our hands up and take on full responsibility here.
It's really not like putting off paying your electricity bill or voting in your local elections, cancelling dinner plans last minute or returning that dress you're never going to wear (all of which I'm completely guilty of) - this is, cliches aside, life and death.
And the most effective method of preventing cervical cancer? Regular screenings that will detect abnormalities in cells in the cervix early on.
I totally get that the idea of a smear test can be horrifying and completely soul-destroying but it's one of life's uncomfortable must dos, that we have to start prioritising.
Though, who actually has the time or energy to make an appointment? How can we possibly fit that in around work/ yoga/ seeing friends/ date night? Plus, we'd probably test fine anyway, right? Wrong, and, really, why take the chances?
The invitation is there, the Department of Health are willing women across Britain to act smart and Demos figure if attendance reaches 100% the NHS' cervical cancer costs would half.
Cervical Screening Awareness Week (CSAW), led by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, is a fantastic way to spread awareness about the importance of attending screenings.
Do it - book a precautionary smear test today and make the women in your life do it too.
(Source: Behind the Screen, Demos.co.uk)
This article was originally published on MyDaily.co.uk