The latest annual report for Cervical Screening Wales shows that 73.2% of eligible women responded to their invitation for cervical screening last year - and the programme encourages all women take up their opportunity to be screened.
Between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, 260,247 women aged 25-64 were invited for screening and 173,547 women attended.
Louise Dunk, Head of Cervical Screening Wales, said: “Last year the majority of eligible women took up their opportunity to be screened.
“However, we urge all eligible women to attend when they receive their invitation from Cervical Screening Wales. Screening is the best way to reduce the impact of this preventable cancer.”
Of the twelve month period covered by the report, the latter six months represent the period since Wales became the first UK nation to fully roll-out human papillomavirus (HPV) testing as the primary cervical screening test in October 2018.
The new test looks for the presence of high-risk strains of HPV which cause 99.8% of cervical cancers. It has been proven to be a more reliable and sensitive method to help prevent women from developing cervical cancer.
Louise Dunk continues: “We are proud to have led the way in bringing this new and improved cervical screening test to the women of Wales.
“HPV testing is a more accurate way of identifying those at greater risk of cervical cancer and it will save lives.
There are about 160 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed every year in Wales.
While cervical screening is not a test for cancer, it does pick up early cancers at a stage when they are easier to treat.
Of the 167 cases of cervical cancer on the Cervical Screening Wales database as of August 2019, 60 (36%) were diagnosed as a result of referral following an abnormal cervical screening result.
Cervical screening, sometimes referred to as a smear test, is a free NHS test that is carried out at GP surgeries or at some sexual-health clinics.
Women from the age of 25 are invited for screening every three years. Women aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years.
The full 2018/19 Cervical Screening Wales Annual Report is available to view online here: