Cervical smears needed for over 50s
Posted by hannahflynn on May 9, 2009
Recently the minimum age for smears has been the cause of much debate, but new evidence suggests the maximum should be considered too.
The study by the Institute of Cancer Researchshowed two thirds of women screened between the ages of 50 and 64 and found to have serious abnormalities, had two previous negative tests in their 40s. This shows cancer cases could be missed if screening was stopped at 50.
Published in the British Journal of Cancer the results were drawn from over 2 million women after questions were raised over the cost effectiveness of screening at this age. The possibility of false positive results for abnormalities was also questioned.
Though it was found the risk of developing cervical cancer did decrease with age, the rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the over 40s could change this. This is as exposure to HPV or other STIs can increase the risk of developing cervical cancer.