New research has claimed that regular cervical screening can boost women’s chances of surviving cervical cancer.
A study carried out by the Centre for Research and Development and Karolinska Institute, both based in Sweden, followed the progress of all 1,230 women diagnosed with cervical cancer in the country between 1999 and 2001, the first project to estimate the chances of surviving the disease.
The authors looked into screen-detected cancers (those with an abnormal smear result one to six months before cancer diagnosis) as well as symptomatic cancers (all remaining cases) to see if detection by screening led to better prognosis or just resulted in earlier diagnosis without any effect of postponing death.
A screen-detected diagnosis for women of screening age led to a 92% cure rate but this fell to 66% for those who had a symptomatic diagnosis.
The report also stated that women who went to a screening following an invitation had more hope of a cure than those who had went along only after they were overdue.
Of the 373 patients who died from cervical cancer, three-quarters had not attended a smear test in the recommended timeframe.
The authors conclude: “Detection of invasive cancer by screening implies a very favourable prognosis compared to cases detected by symptoms”.