Cervical cancer screening beyond age 50 saves lives and remains beneficial to women up to age 69, a new British study suggests.
In this new study, researchers examined data from all 1 341 women aged 65 to 83 in England and Wales who were diagnosed with cervical cancer between 2007 and 2012, and compared them to women in the same age group who did not have cervical cancer.
Read: What are the causes of cervical cancer?
The results showed that women who did not undergo cervical cancer screening after age 50 were six times more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer than those who had regular screenings between ages 50 to 64 and had no abnormalities.
This type of new data from older women can help experts determine whether current guidelines that recommend a halt to cervical cancer screening at age 65 meet all women's needs, Anne Rositch, from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote in an accompanying editorial.
- Women aged 21 to 65 years should have a Pap test every three years. Women aged 30 to 65 who want to lengthen the screening interval can undergo screening with a combination of Pap and HPV testing every five years.
- Screening is not recommended for women younger than 21, or for women older that 65 "who have had adequate prior screening and are not otherwise at high risk for cervical cancer."
- Screening is not recommended for women who have had a hysterectomy with removal of the cervix and who do not have a history of a high-grade precancerous lesion or cervical cancer.
- HPV testing, alone or in combination with a Pap test, should not be used for cervical cancer screening in women younger than 30.
Regular screening for cervical cancer is strongly recommended for young women
Regular pap smears boost cancer survival