Based on a new British study, cervical cancer screening may be beneficial even for the women over the age of 50, up to the age of 69. This is why the authorities suggest the screening to end at the age of 69. Screening can help finding the cancer during the early stages and treating it.
In order to reach their conclusions, the researchers worked with over 1,300 women in Great Britain between the ages of 65 and 83. All these women have been diagnosed with cervical cancer. The specialists compared their data to the data of healthy women.
According to the findings of the specialists, the women who didn’t have regular screening appointments were six times more likely to be affected by cancer than the women who had regular appointments between the ages of 50 and 65 and had no problems. In the first group there have been 49 cancers whereas in the second group there have been only eight cancers.
What does it all mean?
Based on the study we can claim that screening even in case of older women decreases the cervical cancer risks. Although screening is efficient until the age of 65, we also have to add that its effects decrease over time and they lessen substantially 15 years after the last screening.
It is a known fact that the average life expectancy of women has increased in the past few decades. This is why it may seem obvious for the countries that stop screening between the ages of 60 to 69 to stop it later. The new data can help the authorities decide whether it would be beneficial for women to stop the screening at 65.
In order to avoid being affected by cervical cancer, all women should start having Pap smears at the age of 21. This is one of the most reliable screening tests available. If your results turn out to be normal, most probably your doctor will tell you that you will have to repeat the test in three years.
In case you are over 30, you might want to have an HPV test along with the Pap test. Your doctor can perform both tests at the same time so you won’t even notice it. After getting tested you might be able to wait five years before having another test if your results are normal.