Cervical Cancer Rising Among Younger Women

10.11.2011 image

Cervical cancer rates among women in their 20s have risen dramatically, according to new figures.

Cases of the disease in England rose by 43% between 1992/94 and 2006/08.

Women in England are invited for cervical screening every three years from the age of 25, this was raised from 20 in 2003.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland 20-year-olds are still screened.

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The Department of Health says lowering the age in England again could cause too many false positive results, leading to unnecessary and potentially harmful treatment for women.

And experts at Cancer Research UK, which analysed the data, said changing the screening age is not a driver behind the rise in cancer rates.

The figures showed that cervical cancer rates among women in their 20s have continued to rise despite overall incidence of the disease dropping by about a third.

In 1992-1994, about six women aged 20 to 29 in every 100,000 (around 215 per year) were diagnosed with cervical cancer.

This increased to around eight per 100,000 between 2006 and 2008 (around 283 cases per year).

In comparison, rates among women aged 50 to 79 have dropped significantly over the same period.

Over the last decade, the proportion of women aged 25 to 64 who have been screened at least once in the previous five years has dropped to 78.9% – below the Government’s 80% target, previous research has shown.

Only two-thirds of 25 to 29-year-olds in England have been screened within the last five years, down from 75% in 2001.

Young girls in the UK are now offered the human papillomavirus (HPV) jab to protect them against the disease that causes most cases of cervical cancer.

TV star Jade Goody died from cervical cancer in 2009 at the age of 27, prompting some campaigners to call for the age to be lowered back to 20.

Source: http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16103901