Cervical Cancer Risk Persists After Age 50

Older women with several negative smear test results at same risk as younger counterparts
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Women over the age of 50 who have several consecutive negative smear test results are at similar risk of cervical cancer as their younger counterparts with the same test history, according to a study published online April 24 in BMJ.

Matejka Rebolj, of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues analyzed data on 218,847 women aged 45 to 54 years and 445,382 women aged 30 to 44 years who had three consecutive negative smear test results. The researchers looked at 10 year cumulative cervical incidence.

There were 105 women in the 30 to 44 age group who developed cervical cancer within 2,595,964 woman years, and 42 in the 45 to 54 age group within 1,278,532 woman years, the researchers found. Screening levels were similar for both groups throughout the follow-up period, and the cumulative incidence rate in the younger and older age groups was 41 in 100,000 and 36 in 100,000, respectively, the investigators found.

"Our conclusion lends support to the current cervical cancer screening guidelines in England and other developed countries, which do not discriminate women by age up to 60 to 65," the authors write. "Whether individual tailoring of recommendations for further screening by using the information on individual screening histories would be an efficient and feasible alternative to the current fixed schedule in any age group remains to be explored."

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