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J Med Screen. 2012 Sep;19(3):127-32. doi: 10.1258/jms.2012.012081.

Dramatic increase in cervical cancer registrations in young women in 2009 in England unlikely to be due to the new policy not to screen women aged 20-24.

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Centre for Cancer Prevention, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK.



To explore whether the 17% increase in cervical cancer in England in 2009 was due to the change in cervical screening policy.


Trends in incidence of cervical cancer and of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 (CIN3) were analysed for England, Wales and Scotland. Invasive cervical cancer data on 4079 cancers in women aged 20-39 diagnosed between April 2007 and August 2011 in England were analysed by single year of age.


In England there was a 38% (95% confidence intervals [CI] 18-62%) increase in cervical cancer incidence rates in women aged 25-29 in 2009 relative to 2008, and a 30% (11-51%) increase in women aged 35-39. Compared rates in 2010 are similar to those in 2008. The average increase between 2000 and 2010 in women aged 25-29 was no greater in England than in Scotland and Wales (relative risk 0.98, 95% CI 0.69-1.39). In England there has been a gradual increase in CIN3 (particularly for ages 25-29) since 2003, with a more dramatic increase in 2009, but a fall in 2010. Audit data showed an increase in cancers diagnosed at age 25 in 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 (P ≤ 0.0004). No increase was observed at age 26. For ages 27-29 an increase in cancer was observed for 2008/2009-2009/2010 when compared with 2007/2008-2010/2011 (P < 0.00001), but linear trends were not significant.


The increase in cervical cancer in England in 2009 cannot be attributed to the lack of screening of women aged 20-24, or to a general decrease in the coverage or quality of cervical screening.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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