Seven women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and two die from it every single day.
All the more shocking is the fact that if all eligible women attended screenings, more than 80 per cent of deaths from cervical cancer would be prevented.
Screening rates are at their lowest level for 20 years, and that means hundreds of women are suffering gruelling treatment and/or dying needlessly.
The situation is so grave that Public Health England and the NHS this week launched the first ever TV campaign to encourage every woman who’s been invited to attend for a smear test, or has missed an appointment, to book now.
I hope it works, but I wonder, too, how it is that women have become so apathetic and complacent about their health; so blasé about screening as to miss appointments that could help stop a deadly disease in its tracks.
Because it’s not just cervical screening. More women than ever before are also missing breast screening appointments.
Just 70 per cent of those invited by the NHS in England to have a mammogram do so. Some 750,000 women each year don’t bother at all — which is a record low.