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ABSTRACT: The changes to the UK NHS cervical screening programme launched in April 2004 recommend that the first cytological screening should be undertaken at the age of 25 years rather than at 20 years. This study analyses Papanicolaou smear diagnoses of women under 25 years in Lewisham Borough of London to determine the incidence of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) in this age group. There are concerns that delaying the onset of cervical screening in this population may increase the risk of cervical cancer.
Pap smear results of 2793 women (2617 between 20 and 24 years and 176 below 20 years) over a period of 1 year from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004 were analysed. Appropriate colposcopy referrals and the results of cervical biopsies performed were followed up.
Of the 2793 cervical smears analysed: 1997 (71.5%) were normal; 375 (13.4%) inadequate; 144 (5.1%) borderline; 208 (7.4%) showed mild dyskaryosis and 69 (2.5%) showed high-grade lesions (moderate to severe dyskaryosis). One hundred and eighty-two women were referred to colposcopy: 34% showed histological evidence of high-grade precancerous lesions (CIN 2 or 3); 27% CIN 1 and 0.5% koilocytosis only. Thirteen percent had normal colposcopy while 22% did not attend.
The Lewisham population of young women under the age of 25 years is vulnerable to potential precancerous cervical lesions. This may reflect a high level of sexual activity among the young girls. Absence of screening in this age group may miss these high-grade cervical lesions that could progress to cervical cancer in the near future. We reinforce the importance of cervical screening in the highly vulnerable sexually active population under 25.
European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology 08/2008; 139(1):86-9. · 1.84 Impact Factor