§ Mr. Andrew Bowden
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will state the number of deaths from cervical cancer in 1988; and how many of these deaths were of women aged 65 years and over.
§ Mr. Freeman
The information is shown in the table:
Number of deaths from cervical cancer1 by age-groups in England and Wales, 1988 Age-group Number of deaths All ages 1,942 65 and over 967 1 Assigned to 9th revision International Classification of Disease; (ICD)code 180.
When invasive cervical cancer develops from initial pre-cancerous change in cells of the cervix this generally takes, on average, over 10 years. Therefore, we would expect some time to elapse before the call642W
and recall programme reduces the mortality in the 65 years and over age group. Our guidance to health authorities states that women aged 65 years and over who have not had two consecutive negative smears in the last 10 years should be screened. The new GPs' contract, which places a much greater emphasis on health promotion and ill health prevention, should provide additional opportunities for GPs to offer a cervical smear test to women in this age group when appropriate.