A new study shows that women who have been treated for precancerous cells on the cervix may be at greater risk of developing vaginal or cervical cancer and may also be more likely to die should there develop either one of those cancers. Researchers recommended that women continue preventative screenings (PAP smears) into their later years.
The Swedish study found that cancer risk among women diagnosed with CIN3 cells increased with age, rising noticeably after age 60 and again after age 75. By age 75, the risk of developing cervical or vaginal cancer increased to more than 1 in 1,000. Cancer risk also increased among women who had been treated for abnormal cervical cells later in life. For example, the study found that the risk of developing cervical or vaginal cancer was five times greater among women who were treated for precancerous cells when they were in their 60s than it was for women treated in their 30s. Cancer fatalities also increased with age.
As explained on the British Medical Journal website and reported in The Guardian: “Women previously diagnosed with and treated for CIN3 were at substantially increased risk of developing and dying from cervical or vaginal cancer when they reached 60. The risk accelerated with further aging.”
Researchers recommended that women diagnosed with precancerous cells on their cervix when they were young continue to follow-up with their physician as they age. In a separate study, British researchers found that continuing regular PAP smears between age 50 and 64 may reduce cervical cancer risk into a woman’s 80s.
“Where a cervical cancer is found through screening it is usually at a very early stage where treatment has a greater chance of success,” Julietta Patnick of Britain’s National Health Service said.