SHOCKING figures have revealed that one in five women missed their smear test appointment in north and west Cumbria.

Figures released by the NHS show that 15,964 out of 79,577 were not screened despite being eligible for it.

Next week is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. There are a number of campaigns planned including a social media effort to raise awareness using the tag #SmearForSmear.

Tot Spot in Whitehaven is offering free childcare for women attending their smear test.

Abbie Dixon, supervisor at the family-run playroom, said: “It’s really important for women to get their smear test done, it could save their lives.

“I don’t know anyone who was diagnosed with cancer and hadn’t attended their screening, but I do know women who went to their appointment and they were able to spot anomalies and catch it early.

“Sometimes you put it off and put it off because you feel you don’t have time for it, that’s why we offer the free childcare, to make it easier.”

Of the women who missed their screening in 2018/19, 9,220 were aged between 25 and 49 and 6,744 were between 50 and 64.

Cervical screening checks are provided for free through the NHS cervical screening programme.

They are not a test for cancer, but it helps prevent the disease.

Cervical screenings may check for abnormal cell changes in the cervix, which left untreated could turn into cancer.

They may also check for human papillomavirus (HPV). Some types of HPV can lead to cell changes in the cervix and cancer.

HPV is the name for a very common group of viruses and nearly all cervical cancers are caused by infection with certain types of HPV.

For more information on the free childcare for Tot Spot, call 01946 67416 or contact them through their Facebook page.