A new research by Cancer Research UK reveals that women over 50 are significantly prone to cervical cancer, and strongly urges women to undergo regular screenings.

The study found that those women who skip the screenings are six times more vulnerable to developing the cancer.

The extensive research was published in Plos Medicine, an online peer-reviewed medical journal, in which data from 1,341 women aged between 65 and 83 who were diagnosed with cervical cancer, between 2007 and 2012, was compared to the histories of 2,546 healthy women.

It was found that women who had a regular screening history up to their mid-sixties, with normal screening results, had lower risk of cervical cancer well into their 80s.

The study led by Alejandra Castanon, Epidemiologist at Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, University of London.

The paper suggested extending the upper age limit of stopping the cervical screening in view of increasing life expectancies, but said that limiting the age to early sixties for women with negative history of the disease is sensible.

In England and Northern Ireland, women aged between 25 and 49 are offered regular screening checks every three years, while recommended screening frequency for women in the age group of 50 – 64 is every five years as of now.

In Scotland, the frequency of screenings for 20 to 60 year-old women is three years, but from 2015 Scotland will extend the age limit to 64.

In Wales though, women up to the age of 64 are screened every three years.

Julietta Patnick, director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, told the Guardian that women can control the risk of developing cervical cancer by attending regular screening sessions.

"Any abnormalities that might be found can then be treated in order that they do not go on to develop into cancer. Where a cervical cancer is found through screening, it is usually at a very early stage where treatment has a greater chance of success," Patnick said.

Jessica Kirby, senior health information manager at Cancer Research UK, advised encourage women to take up cervical screening when invited.

"Screening is a great way of reducing the risk of cervical cancer, and saves up to 5,000 lives a year in the UK", she told the BBC.

In 2010, about 2,851 women in the UK were diagnosed with cervical cancer, and next year 972 deaths from cervical cancer were reported, according to the statistics available with Cancer Research foundation.

In England, around 4.3 million women of all ages were invited for screening, while only Around 3.32 million made the appointment. The proportion of eligible women attending cervical smear tests drastically fell from 82% in 1995 to just 78.6% in 2007-08.

In 2011, cervical cancer was recorded as 17<sup>th most common cause of death from cancer among women, accounting for 1% of all female cancer deaths.

Alarmingly, screening statistics show a steady decline in attendance by younger women in recent years.