Uptake of potentially lifesaving cervical cancer “smear tests” is falling across Bolton, according to the latest figures.

Findings from NHS Digital data shows that just 69 per cent of the 79,187 patients in Bolton eligible for a smear test by the end of 2021 attended a screening and had a clear result, down from 70 per cent the year before and 72 per cent in 2019.

Around 2,700 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year and approximately 690 women die from the disease, according to NHS statistics.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust charity chief executive Samantha Dixon said: “There is no one reason behind falling cervical screening attendance, instead a wide range of factors exist.

"These include NHS pressures, fear, embarrassment and not knowing what the test is for or thinking it is relevant.”

The screenings, which check a small sample of cells for pre-cancerous abnormalities, are offered to all women between 25 and 49 every three years, while those aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years.

Rates in Bolton varied between the age groups last year, 73 per cent of eligible 50 to 64-year-olds had been screened as of the end of December, compared to 67 per cent of 25 to 49-year-olds.