Education Archive

Cervical screening ineffective in the under 25s

This is the conclusion from a large case-control study from the UK, reported in this week''s BMJ.

The authors calculated the odds ratios for developing invasive cervical cancer stage IA or worse (in the next five year interval) in those screened in a given (three year) age band compared with those not screened in that age band (or in two previous years). 

Selected results:
Screening age...........Odds ratio for cervical cancer
20-21.............................1.51 ((i.e. no reduction in risk)
22-24.............................1.11 (i.e. no reduction in risk)
30-37.............................0.4-0.57 (i.e. 43%-60% risk reduction)
40-42.............................0.18 (i.e. 82% risk reduction)
62-64.............................0.36 (i.e. 64% risk reduction)

Therefore, screening at ages 20-24 has no detectable impact on cervical cancer rates up to the age of 30.

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/339/jul28_2/b2968