Cer­vi­cal screen­ing ‘could save hun­dreds more lives’

Malta Independent - - HEALTH -

The lives of hun­dreds more cer­vi­cal can­cer pa­tients could be saved if all those el­i­gi­ble went for screen­ing, says a study pub­lished in the Bri­tish Jour­nal of Can­cer.

Nearly 2,000 women’s lives are saved as a re­sult of cer­vi­cal can­cer screen­ing in Eng­land each year, the re­port found.

Re­searchers from Queen Mary Univer­sity of Lon­don said the big­gest im­pact of screen­ing was among women aged 50-64.

Around 800 women die from cer­vi­cal can­cer in Eng­land each year.

Cer­vi­cal can­cer screen­ing is of­fered to women in the UK aged be­tween 25 and 64.

Be­tween 25 and 49, women are in­vited for screen­ing ev­ery three years, and up to the age of 64, ev­ery five years.

Screen­ing in­volves a smear test which searches the en­trance of the womb for ab­nor­mal cells.

This gives doc­tors a chance to re­move tis­sue that might be­come can­cer­ous.

The re­search team an­a­lysed the records of more than 11,000 women in Eng­land who had been di­ag­nosed with cer­vi­cal can­cer.

The re­searchers found that 350 ex­tra lives could be saved if all women aged be­tween 25 and 64 were screened reg­u­larly.

And if there was no screen­ing among 50 to 64-year-olds, five times more women would die from cer­vi­cal can­cer.

Prof Peter Sasieni, lead re­searcher based at Queen Mary Univer­sity of Lon­don, said many women were alive and healthy thanks to the screen­ing pro­gramme. “The cer­vi­cal screen­ing pro­gramme al­ready pre­vents thou­sands of can­cers each year and as it con­tin­ues to im­prove, by test­ing all sam­ples for the hu­man pa­pil­loma virus (HPV), even more women are likely to avoid this dis­ease.”

Dr Claire Knight, health in­for­ma­tion man­ager at Can­cer Re­search UK, rec­om­mended that women take up the of­fer to at­tend cer­vi­cal screen­ing when in­vited.

“It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that cer­vi­cal screen­ing is for women with­out symp­toms.

“Women who have any un­usual or per­sis­tent bleed­ing, pain, or change in vagi­nal discharge - even if they’ve been screened re­cently and what­ever their age - should get it checked out by their GP.”

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