Research Article

Screening for cervical cancer by direct inspection.

BMJ 1992; 304 doi: (Published 29 February 1992) Cite this as: BMJ 1992;304:534
  1. V. Singh,
  2. A. Sehgal,
  3. U. K. Luthra
  1. Institute of Cytology and Preventive Oncology (ICMR), Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India.


    OBJECTIVE--To assess the efficacy of visual screening for cervical cancer in the maternal and child health setting. DESIGN--Clinical and cytological screening. SETTING--Maternal and child health centres, Delhi. SUBJECTS--44,970 women attending the centres from May 1988 to March 1991. RESULTS--238 cancers in early stages (0-IIa) were detected cytologically and proved through biopsy. Prevalence of cancer in women defined as high risk through examination by speculum was 29/1000 as compared to 1.53/1000 among women with a normal looking cervix. Though only 11.4% women belonged to the high risk category, 63% had early stage cancer. If all women with bleeding symptoms were included in the high risk category, the yield of cancer would be 71.4% (170/238) by referring only 15.6% of women attending maternal and child health centres for further evaluation through cytology or colposcopy. CONCLUSION--Though visual screening is a suboptimal strategy in comparison to the cytological screening, it may be useful where there is a heavy load of prevalent cancer and where cytological screening may not be available for years to come.