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Rapid response to:


Cervical cancer incidence after normal cytological sample in routine screening using SurePath, ThinPrep, and conventional cytology: population based study

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 14 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j504

Rapid Response:

Is cervical cancer specific mortality rate reduced by all these screening tests?

In a recent analysis of all available studies, cancer screening has never been shown to “save lives”. [1]
The cumulative incidence of women with cervical cancer was only 0.09% after 15 years, in this randomised cohort study in the Netherlands. [4]
Younger generations of women will be rendered low risk through ongoing HPV vaccination programs.
Even if invasive cervical cancer is present and colposcopically visible, stage IA1, affected women can expect survival rates of 99%. [2]
Even delayed treatment for diagnosed cervical cancers, at Stage I, was not associated with worse survival. [3]
Reported over-diagnosis and over-treatment would significantly increase morbidity in completely healthy women.
Statistically, sexually active women will experience vaginal ailments that necessitate clinical colposcopic examination sooner than 5-10 years, so any potential cervical lesions would be detected BEFORE formal screening periods.

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 February 2017
Stavros Saripanidis
Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Thessaloniki, Greece