Reported by The Scotsman – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.

LESS than a third of women with a learning disability in Glasgow were given a life-saving test for cervical cancer last year, figures show.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde data shows 29.1% of women registered as learning disabled attended for cervical smear tests from 2017-2018, compared to 72.1% for the rest of the female population within the board area.

A total of 508 women eligible for a test were screened out of a possible 1848 although the figure was slightly higher than the previous year, when only 24.9% (399) of women were screened out of a possible 1600.

Dr Linda de Caestecker, director of Public Health for NHSGGC and the author of the report said improvements were needed in relation to the recording of learning disabilities by GP practices to help reduce screening inequalities.

Around six women in Scotland are diagnosed with cervical cancer every week. Cervical screening is thought to save around 5,000 lives every year in the UK.

Women aged 25 to 49 are invited every three years and women aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years.

Earlier this month, research emerged showing that the routine vaccination of girls with the HPV vaccine in Scotland has led to a “dramatic” drop in cervical disease in later life.

Human papilomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted infection and some types are linked to cervical cancer.

Researchers said the vaccine has nearly wiped out cases of cervical pre-cancer in young women since an immunisation programme was introduced 10 years ago.

They found the vaccine had led to a 90% cut in pre-cancerous cells.

The report shows screening uptake for other cancers and life-threatening conditions was also considerably lower amongst men and women with learning disabilities.

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