Outcomes of screening to prevent cancer: Think of screening as insurance

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7405.50 (Published 03 July 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:50
  1. Peter D Sasieni (peter.sasieni@cancer.org.uk), professor of biostatistics and cancer epidemiology
  1. Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, London EC1M 6BQ

    EDITOR—Raffle et al provide interesting new data on the outcome of cervical screening.1 It is particularly useful to be able to tell women that over 20 years of five yearly screening, around 16% will have an abnormal smear test result, 8% will have a biopsy, and 4% will be treated for high grade disease.

    The authors also estimate the number of cancers and deaths that might be prevented over 30 years in such a cohort. How they …

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