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Cervical cytology

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Important areas of current debate regarding the cervical screening policies in the UK involve the question of the age at which screening should commence and the impact of the screening programme and clinical advances in the prevention and detection of cervical carcinoma that require the attention of policymakers, health professionals and women of all ages.   NHSCSP guidelines for cervical screening eligibility    The National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme (NHSCSP) was established in the 1980s to provide eligibility rules and guidelines to encourage cervical cancer screening in the UK (Cervical Screening Programme UK NHS 2006).

The guidelines were revised in 2003 to include newer recommendations about appropriate screening intervals and age eligibility requirements to access the free testing service in the UK. Most significantly, the age of initial screening was significantly increased from 20 years to 25 years which has provoked an ongoing controversy regarding the appropriateness of the change in age eligibility for cervical screening. Research data cited by the NHS indicate that cervical screening has a very positive effect in reducing the incidence of cervical carcinoma in women of every age group.

These recent statistics published in 2003 show that 3 year screening programmes produced a decreased occurrence in women aged 20-39 by 39%, women aged 40-64 by 69% and women 55-69 years by 73%. These encouraging statistics suggest that routine screening in all age groups could produce further significant reductions in the incidence of this very common gynecological cancer. Epidemiological evidence suggests that 80% screening rates could be expected to produce a 95% decrease in the incidence of cervical carcinoma.

2006-7 screening rates in UK were estimated at 79%, representing a drop below 1990 statistics which has prompted concern in the medical community. Epidemiological data suggest that cervical screening prevents approximately 4500 deaths per year in the UK with an estimated cost savings of £18,000 per cancer. Screening programme costs and the cost of treating patients with cervical cancer are currently estimated at £157 million per year.   Significance of age restrictions in cervical screening    For millions of women worldwide, the cervical screening tests remain the only available option for the prevention and early detection of cervical carcinoma.

Unlike the current policy of the NHS, many advisories world-wide recommend that cervical screening be made available to women beginning at age 20 (Rieck 2005).

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preview essay on Cervical cytology
  • Pages: 12 (3000 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Unsorted
  • Level: Ph.D.
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