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Cervical Cancer Screening In Women Over 65 Years

May 31st, 2017

Cervical Cancer Screening In Women Over 65 Years

Cervical Cancer Screening In Women Over 65 Years

Young women are usually at risk of developing cervical cancer and this serves as a reason to avoid older women for cervical cancer screening as time goes by. Although the guidelines suggest that screening may not be needed for women over 65 with average risk of developing cervical cancer; however, many women do not show a proper history of being screened regularly in order to clearly determine their risk.

A recent publication in American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that cervical cancer rate in women with no case of hysterectomy usually decrease when they turn 85 years old whereas continued surveillance may be needed in women above 65 who haven’t been screened in a recent time period.

Cervical Cancer Screening In Women Over 65

According to the ScD, lead investigator and Chief of the Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, Mary C. White, older women with no case of surgically removed cervix are at equivalent or even escalated risk of being targeted by cervical cancer in comparison to women who are young. Women who have not had hysterectomy done still requires screening for cervical cancer until they turn 65. Further screening may even be a necessity particularly if they haven’t been screened for a while or if they are at a potential risk of cervical cancer.

Back in the year 2013, the statistics revealed that one third of the cervical cancer associated death rate and one fifth of the total cases of cervical cancer occurred in women who were 65 years or older. According to the guidelines, a Pap Smear Test Image65-year old woman may stop being screened especially if her screening history shows consistently all negative results. Getting 3 consecutive negative results for a cytology test in past 5 years may be taken into consideration for stopping the screening of a 65-year old woman having average risk of cervical cancer.

The investigators thoroughly looked into the data of 2013 and 2015 NHIS (National Health Interview Survey) regarding the significance of screening tests and cervical cancer rates in women who were 65 years or above. Considering the compiled data, they speculated that women with hysterectomy showed increased rate of cervical cancer with advancing age until they turned 70 and the incidence rate begin declining after they turned 85. Black women above 65 also have potentially high risk of developing cervical cancer.

It also suggested that majority of the women were not being properly screened as they reached their stopping age i.e. turning 65 years old. Investigators believe that the insufficient screening was proportionally related to the increasing age. According to the data, 12% of the women showed no evidence of recent screening in their 40’s and the figures were found to increase drastically in women who were 50 or 60. Approximately 850,000 women between 61 and 65 years of age were noted for having no recent history of screening against cervical cancer.

Therefore, previously assumed theory that cervical cancer only hits younger women has been replaced by this recent study which suggests that women of any age may have potential risk of developing cervical cancer and so regular screening is necessary regardless the age.


  • Massad, L. S., Einstein, M. H., Huh, W. K., Katki, H. A., Kinney, W. K., Schiffman, M., … & Lawson, H. W. (2013). 2012 updated consensus guidelines for the management of abnormal cervical cancer screening tests and cancer precursors. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 121(4), 829-846.
  • Castanon, A., Landy, R., Cuzick, J., & Sasieni, P. (2014). Cervical screening at age 50–64 years and the risk of cervical cancer at age 65 years and older: population-based case control study. PLoS Med, 11(1), e1001585.

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