'Offer smears to women with lesion history for 25 years'

Women should be offered annual smear tests for at least 25 years after treatment for pre-cancerous lesions, say Swedish researchers.

The latest study findings indicate that women are still at risk of developing invasive cancer of the cervix even after treatment for grade three cervical intraepithelial neoplasmia.

The findings emphasise the need for regular screening even beyond the age of 60, say the researchers.

For the study, the research team examined data from the National Swedish Cancer Register. This included information on 132,493 women, recorded between 1958 and 2002, who had a diagnosis of severe dysplasia.

Using patient registration numbers, the researchers identified that 881 women had a diagnosis of invasive cervical cancer and 111 women had a diagnosis of vaginal cancer more than one year after undergoing treatment for severe dysplasia.

They also found an increased risk of cervical cancer in women who were aged 35 plus when treated for severe dysplasia.

Women were twice as likely to develop invasive cervical cancer after a diagnosis of severe dysplasia if the diagnosis was made between 1991 and 2000 than between 1958 and 1970.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

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