Are Women Treated for PreCancerous Cells on the Cervix, at Greater Risk of Later Cervical and Vaginal Cancers?


A new study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that women previously treated for abnormal cells on the cervix (CIN3 or cervical intraepithelial neoplasis grade 3) are at increased risk of developing and dying from cervical or vaginal cancer compared with the general female population and that the risk rises after age 60. This is the first study to evaluate the risk of death from cervical cancer after treatment of CIN3) as women age. Data was used from the Swedish Cancer Registry that contains information on 150,883 women with CIN3 and of these, 1,089 had a diagnoses of invasive cervical cancer and 127 had a diagnosis of vaginal cancer whereas 302 and 52 respectively died of these diseases.

Results showed an increase risk of invasive cervical and vaginal cancers as women once treated for CIN3 grew older and the risk compared to women in the general population accelerated after age 60. By age 75 the incidence rates increased further and rates exceded 100 per 100,000 women over that age. Also the more recent the treatment of CIN3 the higher the risk of cancer.

Despite the risk involved, the researchers said women treated for ?CIN3 are well protected from cervical cancer and only a minority ot those treated die from the disease and women treated are assumed to have been followed up more closely than other women. They concluded that the treatment for CIN3 is very beneficial for women with the diagnosis but the risk of developing cervical or vaginal cancer and of dying from one of these among women previously treated for CIN3 is strongly increased after the age of 60 and 70 respectively, compared to the general population of women. . Also found was that treatment later in life increases the risk and they recommended that women previously treated for CIN3 be followed later in life.

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