Education Archive

Age is poor discriminator for deciding when to cease cervical screening

In an attempt to answer the age-old question of the age at which it is safe to cease cervical screening, researchers in the Netherlands and Denmark have studied the incidence of cervical cancer following a number of negative smears at different ages. 

They gathered information from two age groups: 45-54 and 30-44. All had three straight negative smear tests. Cases of cervical cancer were then recorded during the following ten years. 

Throughout the investigation, the levels of screening were comparable in both age groups, and ten years later, the incidence of cervical cancer was similar in both groups. This suggests that the risk of developing cervical cancer is not linked to age, among closely screened women without prior abnormalities.

The data supports the UK cervical screening policy of screening women up to 65 years of age.

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/338/apr24_1/b1354