Doctors and patients confuse cervical screening with diagnostic testsBMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g3334 (Published 20 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3334
- Margaret McCartney, general practitioner, Glasgow, UK
Campaigns backed by patients and families to lower the age at which women are eligible for cervical screening are understandable. They present screening to the UK public as a logical, clear headed, and obvious health need.
The age at which cervical screening starts was raised from 20 to 25 in England after a recommendation from the advisory committee on cervical cancer screening in 2003.1 Northern Ireland followed in 2011,2 and Scotland will from 2015.3 I suspect that many campaigners saw this merely as rationing. If you believe that screening would have saved a 22 year old woman’s life, and it were available in Scotland but not in England, a natural conclusion is …