Deaths from cervical cancer began falling before screening programmes were establishedBMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7113.953 (Published 11 October 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:953
- A E Raffle, Consultant in public health medicinea
- a Avon Health Authority, Bristol BS2 8EE
Editor—The contrasting viewpoints in the letters from C Mary Anderson and Amanda Herbert illustrate the dilemma of cervical screening1 2: abnormal results are common, but the disease we are trying to prevent was rare before screening.3 Do the high rates of detection exist because we are averting a new epidemic of 7000 cases,2 or even 7000 deaths,4 each year in England? Or do the vast majority of lesions represent an early and reversible stage in the pathogenesis of cancer?
Screening has been available in Britain since the mid-1960s, but it was not until call and recall programmes were widely …