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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2009 Feb;48(2):149-51. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/ken442. Epub 2008 Dec 15.

Reports of abnormal cervical cancer screening tests in systemic sclerosis.

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Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, 687 Pine Avenue West, V-Building, Montreal, Quebec H3A1A1, Canada.



To assess the prevalence of abnormal cervical cancer screening (Pap tests) reported by women with SSc onset before the age of 50 yrs.


Female members of a Canadian multi-centre SSc cohort completed standardized assessments and were questioned regarding a history of an abnormal Pap test. Potential correlates examined included demographics, reproductive history, smoking, diffuse vs limited SSc type, immunosuppressant exposure and SSc duration.


In the 320 women with SSc onset before the age of 50 yrs, the life-time prevalence of an abnormal Pap test (according to self-report) was 25.4% (95% CI CI 20.9, 30.4%). By comparison, self-reported prevalence of abnormal Pap tests among general population Canadian females was recently reported at 13.8% (95% CI 11.6, 16.4%). Women with diffuse SSc (n = 142), tended to have a higher prevalence of self-reported cervical dysplasia (31.7%) compared with those with limited disease (20.7%), but the CIs overlapped. A multivariate logistic regression found a significant positive association between self-reported abnormal Pap test and diffuse disease [odds ratio (OR) 1.87; 95% CI 1.01, 3.47]. An independent association of an abnormal Pap test with smoking (OR 2.43; 95% CI 1.23, 4.78) and with younger age at disease onset was also noted.


We noted a high prevalence of abnormal Pap tests self-reported in our sample. Increased risk was seen among those with diffuse SSc, and also among smokers and those with a younger age at disease onset. Thus, it seems prudent to ensure that adequate attention is paid to cervical cancer screening for women with SSc.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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