WOMEN are being encouraged to make sure they are up to date with their smear tests in Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.
Around 900 women die each year from the disease but all women aged between 25 and 64 are eligible for a free check every three to five years.
Girls aged 12 to 13 are vaccinated against the human papilloma virus, which causes around 70 per cent of cervical cancer, but smear tests are still needed in later life.
Sue Marsden, screening manager at NHS Hertfordshire, said: “In Hertfordshire there are still some women who do not realise how important it is to get screened.
“I understand some women may feel anxious about going for a smear test but I would urge women not to put it off. The test takes about five minutes with most women describing it as a little uncomfortable but not painful, and having the test regularly can help to detect cell abnormalities early so they can be monitored or treated.”
Health chiefs say screening saves around 4,500 lives in England each year.