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Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1985 May 25;290(6481):1543-6.

A case-control study of cervical cancer screening in north east Scotland.


To estimate the relative risk of invasive cervical cancer in each succeeding year after a negative screening result the screening records of all women tested in the north east of Scotland were examined as the basis for a case-control study. The cases consisted of 115 women in whom invasive cervical cancer had been diagnosed in 1968-82 and who had appeared in the screening records at least once before diagnosis. For each patient five controls were selected from women of the same age who appeared in the screening records before the date of diagnosis in the patient. If the patient's cancer had been detected by screening the controls were chosen from women of the same age screened the same year. A comparison was made between cases and controls of the number of negative smears taken before the diagnosis. The results showed a high relative protection (inverse of the relative risk) in the first two years after a negative test, falling steadily as time since the last negative test elapsed. Even after 10 years, however, a considerable residual effect was observed.

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