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Women With Slightly Abnormal Smear Results Need More Reassurance

Armen Hareyan's picture

Women and Smear

More than a quarter of women who receive slightly abnormal smear test results are experiencing unnecessarily high levels of anxiety - suggests new research published in the British Journal of Cancer.

The report's authors conclude that more information to help women understand their test results, and reassurance to address their fears about developing cervical cancer, could reduce anxiety levels.

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The research team measured anxiety levels in over 3,500 women with slightly abnormal smear test results taking part in the TOMBOLA trial (Trial Of Management of Borderline and Other Low-grade Abnormal smears). The women were screened for clinically significant anxiety using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).

When the scores were analysed, 23 percent of the women were categorised as 'probable cases' of clinical anxiety, and a further 20 percent as 'possible cases'. These findings are comparable with those from a study of women who had received higher-grade abnormal smear results.

Lead author, Nicola Gray of the Department of General Practice and Primary Care at Aberdeen University, said: "Our results indicate that similar levels of anxiety are being experienced among women with slightly abnormal