It’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and young women are being urged to respond to invitations to have a smear test to help reduce the risk of contracting the disease.

Health professionals have asked women to look out for letters inviting them to attend a screening appointment at one of the 64 GP practices across Kirklees.

And they have sought to reassure them that the five-minute tests are painless.

The NHS offers a cervical screening programme to all women from the age of 25. Females aged 11-18 can take up the HPV vaccination.

A spokesperson for NHS Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group said it wanted to increase understanding about cervical screening and the need for regular smear tests, which can highlight women who need early treatment and prevent unnecessary deaths.

“Our message is clear: don’t ignore the invitation letter.”

Cervical screening is not a test for cancer but instead a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix - the entrance to the womb.

Symptoms of cervical cancer include:

* Vaginal bleeding, usually after having sex

* Bleeding at other times, other than during the monthly period

* Pain/discomfort during intercourse

* Unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge

To find out more about the screening programme visit