Cervical screening programmes in many countries stop at around the age of 65 and much of the focus is often on younger women. For example, recent media campaigns in England and Wales have centred on lowering the age at first screening. Comparatively little attention has been given to older women despite the fact that they account for about a fifth of cases each year and half of deaths. Of the 3121 women diagnosed on average each year between 2009 and 2011 in the UK, only 64 were younger than 25 compared with 616 who were older than 65. As the population ages, this number of older women affected is set to increase. Susan Sherman and colleagues argue that screening programmes should reflect this.
Sources and more information
- Cervical cancer is not just a young woman’s disease, BMJ 2015;350:h2729, 15 June 2015.
- Review calls for urgent change to perception of cervical cancer risk in older women, Keele University, 15 June 2015 .
- Cervical cancer screening: review calls for urgent screening changes, medicalnewstoday, 16 June 2015.
- DES studies on Cancer, Breast Cancer, CCA, Vaginal Cancer, Screening.