Women could be screened for cervical cancer every five years instead of every three and as many cancers could still be prevented, a new study suggests.
Researchers at King’s College London said that screening women aged 24 to 49 who test negative for human papillomavirus (HPV) at five-year intervals prevented as many cancers as screening every three years.
The study of 1.3 million women in England, published in the BMJ, found that women in this age group were less likely to develop clinically relevant cervical lesions, abnormal changes of the cells that line the cervix known as CIN3+, and cervical cancer three years after a negative HPV screen compared to a negative smear test.
Lead author Dr Matejka Rebolj, senior epidemiologist at King’s College London, said the results were “very reassuring”.
She added: “They build on previous research that shows that following the introduction of HPV testing for cervical screening, a five-year interval is at least as safe as the previous three-year interval.
“Changing to five-yearly screening will mean we can prevent just as many cancers as before, while allowing for fewer screens.”
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Source: The Independent, 31 May 2022