Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Should Cervical Screening Stop At Age 50?

Date:
April 23, 2009
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
It is not consistent to stop screening women after age 50 because the risk of cervical cancer -- even after several negative smear results -- is similar to that at younger ages, concludes a study.

It is not consistent to stop screening women after age 50 because the risk of cervical cancer - even after several negative smear results - is similar to that at younger ages, concludes a study published on bmj.com.

Ever since the first organised cervical screening programmes started in Europe more than 40 years ago, discussion about the upper age limit for effective screening has been ongoing.

Evidence suggests that repeating smear tests in women aged 60-65 whose previous tests have been normal has little, if any, benefit, and some researchers have proposed that the age limit should be lowered to 50.

So researchers at the Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark compared levels of cervical cancer after several negative smears at different ages.

Using data from a national cervical cancer register in The Netherlands (PALGA), they identified 219,000 women aged 45-54 years and 445,000 women aged 30-44 years after their third consecutive negative smear test. The women were then tracked for 10 years, during which time cases of cervical cancer were recorded.

During follow-up, both age groups had similar levels of screening. After 10 years, the incidence of cervical cancer was similar in both groups (41 per 100,000 in the younger group and 36 per 100,000 in the older group), suggesting that among well-screened women without previous abnormalities the risk of developing cervical cancer is independent of age.

Based on these results, it is reasonable to assume that after several consecutive negative results the screening efficiency in terms of detection and prevention of cervical cancer is at the same level around age 50 as it is at younger ages, say the authors.

Whether the observed incidence rates warrant continued screening should be determined by subsequent analysis, but the study suggests that it would not be consistent to stop screening these women while not also relaxing the screening policy for younger women with similar screening histories.

In this respect, our study lends support to the current cervical cancer screening guidelines in England and other developed countries, which do not discriminate women by age up to 65 years, they conclude.

In an accompanying editorial, Björn Strander, Director of cervical screening at Sahlgren's University Hospital in Sweden, suggests we have to pay close attention to developments in invasive cancer in age groups above the cut-off point for screening and be prepared to adjust the screening ages as we learn more.

With modern computer technology we could tailor screening invitations to the individual, he says. Resources could then be allocated away from women who would not benefit from additional smears within a certain number of years to those who would, and the question of whether to screen above the age of 60 could then be answered - yes, for those who benefit the most from it.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rebolj et al. Incidence of cervical cancer after several negative smear results by age 50: Prospective observational study. BMJ, 2009; DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b1354

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Should Cervical Screening Stop At Age 50?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423193948.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2009, April 23). Should Cervical Screening Stop At Age 50?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423193948.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Should Cervical Screening Stop At Age 50?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423193948.htm (accessed August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) — After four months in the hospital, the first quintuplets to be born at Baylor University Medical Center head home. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) — A U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola while working in West Africa will be treated in a high security ward at Emory University in Atlanta. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) — Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) — Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins