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A postal survey of a random sample of 3307 women aged 18-64 years living in the Oxford region (the Oxford healthy life survey) revealed age and social class differences in the proportion of women reporting an up-to-date cervical smear test. Although 86% of women in the 25-34 years age group reported a test in -the previous five years, the proportion dropped to 53% among the 55-64 year olds. Women in social classes 4 and 5 were significantly less likely to report a recent smear test (P<0.01) than women in higher social classes. An audit of the general practice notes of 176 of the respondents suggested that these self-reported results are likely to be reasonably accurate.A reduction in the number of deaths from cervical cancer will largely depend on the efforts of primary health care teams to screen women who are at relatively high risk of developing the disease, namely older women and those of lower social class.


Journal article


J R Coll Gen Pract

Publication Date





441 - 443


Adolescent, Adult, Age Factors, Aged, England, Female, Humans, Mass Screening, Medical Audit, Middle Aged, Social Class, Surveys and Questionnaires, Uterine Cervical Neoplasms, Vaginal Smears