Women With Precancerous Lesions Removed Have Increased Risk Of Cervical, Vaginal Cancer

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Women who have precancerous lesions removed from their cervix are at anincreased risk of developing cervical or vaginal cancer during the 25years after the procedure, according to a study published on Friday in BMJ, Reuters reports.

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For the study, Bjorn Strander of Sahlgren's Academy at the University of Gothenburgand colleagues examined records from the National Swedish CancerRegister of more than 132,000 women diagnosed with precancerous lesionsfrom 1958 to 2002. The researchers found 881 women had developedcervical cancer and 111 women had developed vaginal cancer more thanone year following their diagnosis, even after they had the lesionsremoved (Kahn, Reuters, 10/25).

According to theresearchers, women with cervical lesions were more than twice as likelyto develop invasive cancer of the cervix, compared with the generalfemale population. A woman's risk of cancer increased if she was olderat the time of diagnosis, particularly among women ages 50 or older,the study found. Women with severe lesions were almost seven times aslikely to develop cancer, compared with the general population;however, the risk decreased threefold 25 years after treatment, thestudy found (AFP/Yahoo! News, 10/25).

Thefindings underscore the need for follow-up tests to continue for atleast 25 years after treatment, Strander said, adding, "This is awarning to the health care system to keep track of these women." Thereason the risk remains high has not been investigated, "but there areindications it could be because a lack of surveillance," Strander said,adding, "The risk is quite steady. It does not decrease." In a related BMJeditorial, researchers wrote that the findings show current testingguidelines are not sufficient and that further study is necessary. "Oneclear indication is that women treated for (severe precancerouslesions) should continue surveillance beyond the age limit of regularscreening," the editorial says (Reuters, 10/25).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyWomen's Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for emaildelivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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