More than two-thirds of cervical cancer deaths prevented by screening

September 19, 2016
High grade dysplasia (carcinoma in situ) in the uterine cervix. The abnormal epithelium is extending into a mucus gland to the left of centre. This disease can progress to invasive cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) of the cervix. Credit: Haymanj/public domain

Cervical screening prevents 70 per cent of cervical cancer deaths and if all eligible women regularly attended screening this would rise to 83 per cent, according to research led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

The new research, funded by Cancer Research UK and published in the British Journal of Cancer, is the first to establish the impact that screening has on deaths from cervical cancer by using screening information from who have been diagnosed with the disease.

The researchers studied the records of more than 11,000 women in England who had been diagnosed with cervical cancer and found that, without screening, an additional 1,827 more women would die from the disease. But if all women aged between 25 and 64 were screened regularly, an extra 347 lives could be saved – extensively reducing the number of deaths from the disease.  

The biggest impact of screening is among women aged between 50-64 where there would be five times more women dying from cervical cancer if there were no screening.

Lead researcher Professor Peter Sasieni from QMUL's Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine said: "This study looked at the impact of on deaths from the disease and estimated the number of lives the screening programme saves each year.

"Thousands of women in the UK are alive and healthy today thanks to cervical screening. The cervical screening programme already prevents thousands of cancers each year and as it continues to improve, by testing all samples for the , even more women are likely to avoid this disease."

In England around 800 women die from each year. Cervical cancer screening is offered in the UK to women aged between 25 and 64. The screening programme invites women every three years between the 25 and 49; after that they are invited every five years until they're 64.

Dr Claire Knight, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "Whether or not to go for screening is an individual choice, but Cancer Research UK recommends 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. Chances are it won't be cancer but, if it is, getting it diagnosed and treated early can make a real difference."

Explore further: Screening helps prevent cervical cancer in older women

More information: Rebecca Landy et al. Impact of cervical screening on cervical cancer mortality: estimation using stage-specific results from a nested case–control study, British Journal of Cancer (2016). DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2016.290

Related Stories

Screening helps prevent cervical cancer in older women

January 14, 2014
New research from Queen Mary University of London reveals women over the age of 50 who don't attend cervical screening are four times more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer in later life.

ACOG: New recommendations for cervical cancer screening

December 23, 2015
(HealthDay)—In a practice bulletin published in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, new recommendations are presented for cervical cancer screening and prevention.

HPV vaccine reduced cervical abnormalities in young women

July 4, 2016
Young women who received the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine through a school-based program had fewer cervical cell anomalies when screened for cervical cancer, found a new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

HPV testing could cut cervical cancers by a third

June 14, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Testing women for the human papillomavirus (HPV) first, instead of using the traditional cervical screening test to detect abnormal cells in the cervix, could prevent around 600 cases of cervical cancer ...

Call for urgent change to cervical cancer risk perception in older women

June 15, 2015
As Cervical Screening Awareness Week begins, a Keele University academic is calling for cervical screening programmes and perceptions of cervical cancer to be reviewed urgently, to encourage more older women to get regularly ...

One in 10 US women miss cervical cancer screenings

November 5, 2014
Eight million US women have not been screened in the last five years for cervical cancer, even though regular checkups can help prevent the fatal disease, US health authorities said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Outdoor light at night linked with increased breast cancer risk in women

August 17, 2017
Women who live in areas with higher levels of outdoor light at night may be at higher risk for breast cancer than those living in areas with lower levels, according to a large long-term study from Harvard T.H. Chan School ...

Scientists develop novel immunotherapy technology for prostate cancer

August 17, 2017
A study led by scientists at The Wistar Institute describes a novel immunotherapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer based on the use of synthetic DNA to directly encode protective antibodies against a cancer specific ...

Scientists develop blood test that spots tumor-derived DNA in people with early-stage cancers

August 16, 2017
In a bid to detect cancers early and in a noninvasive way, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report they have developed a test that spots tiny amounts of cancer-specific DNA in blood and have used it to ...

Toxic formaldehyde is produced inside our own cells, scientists discover

August 16, 2017
New research has revealed that some of the toxin formaldehyde in our bodies does not come from our environment - it is a by-product of an essential reaction inside our own cells. This could provide new targets for developing ...

Cell cycle-blocking drugs can shrink tumors by enlisting immune system in attack on cancer

August 16, 2017
In the brief time that drugs known as CDK4/6 inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, doctors have made a startling observation: in certain patients, the drugs—designed to halt cancer ...

Researchers find 'switch' that turns on immune cells' tumor-killing ability

August 16, 2017
Molecular biologists led by Leonid Pobezinsky and his wife and research collaborator Elena Pobezinskaya at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have published results that for the first time show how a microRNA molecule ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.