THOUSANDS of women in Glasgow are risking their lives by refusing to have a cancer test.
Figures show the city continues to have the lowest uptake in Scotland for cervical screening with 30% not taking the test last year.
Cancer experts said the figures are "worrying". Screening rates have dropped by around 10% in the past decade in Greater Glasgow while rates of cervical cancer have risen. Around 2800 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK each year, including 70 in Glasgow.
Research has shown an inequalities gap in screening rates with the lowest uptakes in the east and north of Glasgow. Women are excluded from the screening programme if they have ignored an invitation for a test from a GP and two reminders.
Last year the Evening Times revealed 44% of women aged 21-24 had ignored an invitation for a smear test in 2010-2011. Almost a third of cervical cancer cases were detected during the screening process in 2010/2011.
The charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust has launched a publicity drive to encourage more women to take the test.Until June 18 city buses will have the message, 'cervical screening saves lives,' to remind women to get screened and to mark Cervical Screening Awareness Week from June 10 to 16.
Trust director Robert Music said: "With uptake at 70.1% Glasgow is well below the average for the whole of Scotland and this is something we need to change.
"Cervical cancer is largely preventable and cervical screening plays a vital part in that, saving around 5000 lives every year in the UK."
Young girls in the UK are now offered the human papillomavirus (HPV) jab to protect them against the disease that causes most cases of cervical cancer.
In 2009 Jade Goody, best known for appearing in the TV show Big Brother, died from cervical cancer, aged just 27.
Dr Emilia Crighton, head of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's screening programme, said the health board is carrying out research which is hopes will shed light on the low uptake. She said: "Women are not aware of the importance of taking the test. It's just not a priority."