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Prev Med. 2007 Aug-Sep;45(2-3):93-106. Epub 2007 Jun 22.

Process of care failures in invasive cervical cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Department of Oncology and Epidemiology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



As invasive cervical cancer is preventable when screening and treatment of pre-invasive lesions are timely and appropriate, several past studies attempted to enumerate the quality of preventive care invasive cervical cancer subjects received before diagnosis. Objectives of the present study were to review and to summarize the findings of these studies in a meta-analysis.


Data from 42 studies were used to estimate DerSimonian and Laird random effects models for the various failures in care along the cancer care continuum. Analyses were also conducted within strata characterized by variables deemed to account for heterogeneity in meta-regression analyses.


Poor Pap screening frequency was the primary factor attributable to development of invasive cervical cancer. On average, 53.8% (95% confidence interval: 43.6-66.3) of invasive cervical cancer subjects had inadequate screening histories and 41.5% (95% confidence interval: 35.4-48.7) were never screened. There was significant temporal improvement in the proportion of women screened at least once over a lifetime but not in the proportion with overall deficient histories. An estimated 29.3% (95% confidence interval: 21.2-40.4) of failures to prevent invasive cervical cancer can be attributed to false-negative Pap smears and 11.9% (95% confidence interval: 9.0-15.6) to poor follow-up of abnormal results.


Appropriate assessment of the effect of combined failures in the process of care must be done in comprehensive audit studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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