Thursday, 20 Sep 2018

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Some smear test abnormalities 'self-heal'

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Health Desk: 28 February 2018: Early cell changes that can turn into cervical cancer may not need treatment and may get better on their own in 50% of cases, according to a new study.

The British Medical Journal research looked at the outcomes of more than 3,000 women and found half of the "moderate" lesions found on routine smear tests regressed spontaneously.

The study authors stress it is still very important that women attend for cervical screening when invited.

Most women's smear test results will be normal, but for around one in 20, the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.

That would mean that in 1,000 women aged under 30 with a diagnosis of CIN2: 600 will have regression, 230 will persist and 110 will have a lesion that will get worse and could become cancer, although the researchers stress that the findings are not a perfect prediction and should be interpreted with caution.

Prof Maggie Cruickshank, an expert from the University of Aberdeen, advises in a linked editorial in the BMJ: "Knowing that the chance of regression is 50%-60%, still means taking a gamble that surveillance is simply delaying treatment and even a small risk of cancer (0.5% in this study) may still be unacceptable to some."

Courtesy: BBC Health