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Cervical smear in under 25 year olds

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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It has been shown that approximately one in three women under 25 years will have abnormal cervical cytology samples (as opposed to one in 14 for all women screened) (1)

  • these changes are frequently due to natural and harmless changes in the cervix which, if left untreated would resolve spontaneously (1,2)

Detection of these abnormalities will result in unnecessary additional testing and potentially harmful treatment (1,2)

  • research suggests that taking tissue from cervix (for diagnosis, for removal of abnormal area or both) causes an increased risk of pre term births
  • it has been shown that for every 100,000 women screened in this group, around 100 to 350 will have pre term deliveries (1)

Furthermore the incidence of cervical cancer in women under 25 years is low with 56 cases of cervical cancer patients in the age group of 15-24 years being registered in 2007 in England and Wales (2).

However women who are concerned about their sexual health or with risk or symptoms of cervical cancer should visit their GP or local genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic (1,2)


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