Women still face cancer risk 25 years after treatment

October 25, 2007

Women are still at risk of developing invasive cancer of the cervix or vagina 25 years after being treated for pre-cancerous lesions, according to a study published today on bmj.com.

Cancer experts are now calling for cytological smears to be offered at regular intervals for at least 25 years after a woman has had severe dysplasia/CIS (carcinoma in situ).

CIS is not cancer but close to it as some cells look cancerous but are superficially in the mucosa (the soft skin-like layer that lines many body cavities such as the nasal and genital passages) and not in any tissue.

Researchers in Sweden studied data from the National Swedish Cancer Register, which included information recorded between 1958 and 2002 on 132,493 women who had a diagnosis of severe dysplasia/CIS.

They found that 881 women had developed cervical cancer and 111 women had vaginal cancer more than one year after the CIS diagnosis.

Women with such a diagnosis are more than twice as likely to develop cancer as the general female population.

They also found that there was an increasing risk of cervical cancer if the woman was older at the time of diagnosis, with a much higher risk for women aged over 50.

The risk also grew as the decades went by as the researchers found that women were twice as likely to develop invasive cervical cancer after diagnosis of CIS if that diagnosis was made in the period 1991-2000 as in the period 1958-1970. This could be due to changes in the forms of treatment in different decades.

The observed number of cases of women who developed vaginal cancer was almost seven times higher than expected

The authors say: "Although most women with high-grade dysplasia have been protected from invasive cancer it must be considered a failure of the medical service when women participate in screening, their pre-cancerous lesions are found and they subject themselves to treatment of those lesions, presumably participate in follow-up programmes and still develop invasive cancer."

They conclude that follow-up care has, so far, been insufficient and women should be offered cytological smears at regular intervals for at least 25 years after treatment. Long term follow up should not stop for women when they reach the age of 60 if they were older than 35-40 at the time of treatment for CIS.

This view is reiterated in accompanying BMJ editorial, which suggests that women treated for CIN3 should have long term screening, even if beyond the normal age limit of regular screening.


Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.