BARNSLEY has a higher death rate from cervical cancer than the national average.

The latest figures from Public Health show the death rate from cervical cancer was 4.45 per cent - compared to the national average of 2.24 per cent.

There were 19 deaths from cervical cancer during 2008-2010 and 16 of those deaths were women under the age of 75.

Sharon Stoltz, acting director of Public Health, said: "Our figures are higher than the national average, but it doesn't mean Barnsley has the highest number of deaths from cervical cancer in the country.

"Cervical cancer is a fairly common cancer in women. Not all cancers can be prevented but cervical cancer is one of those women can be protected from by being vaccinated."

She said there would be a focus on getting girls aged 12-13 to complete the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) programme, which helps lower women's chances of getting cancer.

HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that causes 99 per cent of invasive cervical cancers.

In 2011, 90 per cent of eligible girls in Barnsley received the vaccination, but Sharon said there were three stages to it and that led to some girls only having the first or second course.

She added: "It's one of the really important cancer prevention measures. If all young girls took up the HPV vaccination and completed the course as well as going for regular smear tests we should be able to reduce the number of deaths from cervical cancer in Barnsley."