Women with cervical cancer diagnosed by screening have a better chance of being cured

Published 2nd March, 2012

Women with cervical cancer diagnosed by screening have a better chance of being cured than those who present with symptoms according to a study published today in the BMJ.

The research, undertaken in Sweden, looked at all women diagnosed with cervical cancer in Sweden between 1999 and 2001 and followed them for an average of eight years after diagnosis.

It concluded that because screen-detected cancers are generally found at an earlier stage, screening both reduces the risk of cervical cancer and is linked with an improved likelihood of cure. This was the case even when taking into account lead time bias (the length of time between the detection of a disease and its usual clinical presentation and diagnosis).

The researchers found a 92 per cent cure rate after a screening test diagnosis, (formerly called a smear) compared with 66 per cent for diagnoses based on symptoms.

Richard Winder, Deputy Director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, said:
"This is a clear and encouraging endorsement of the benefits of cervical screening and emphasises the importance of regular attendance"

Details of the study can be found on the BMJ website.