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J Clin Pathol. 1994 Jan;47(1):27-8.

Audit of deaths from cervical cancer: proposal for an essential component of the National Screening Programme.

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1
Department of Histopathology and Cytopathology, Rotherham District Hospital.

Abstract

AIMS:

To ascertain the type and relative frequency of major factors associated with deaths from cervical cancer.

METHODS:

Deaths from cervical cancer in Rotherham district for the period 1989-1991 were subjected to multifactorial audit by reviewing laboratory, hospital, and general practitioner records; together with, when appropriate, re-screening of cytology smears. This period represented the three to five years after a computerised National Screening Programme (NSP) had been implemented with a five year recall interval.

RESULTS:

Thirty six deaths were identified. The average age of death was 59 years with 39% occurring in those over 65. Only 6% of cases presented as a result of a cervical smear, comprising 3% derived from the NSP and 3% by chance. Forty seven per cent of cases in which the patient had died had no record of a previous smear invitation; 22% of patients were under 65 years and 25% 65 or over. Those under 65 had presented before the appropriate age band had been called. A non-response to a cervical smear invitation was identified in 22%. In 25% of cases a true negative smear had been reported one to eight years previously (average 4.8 years). An inappropriate laboratory diagnosis was identified in 17% of cases. Fourteen per cent represented false negative smears and 8% comprised inadequate smears that had been reported as negative. Inappropriate clinical diagnosis or management was identified in 19% of cases. In 22% two or more contributory factors were identified in the same patient.

CONCLUSIONS:

Areas highlighted by the audit warranting further attention included the targeting of women over 65 with no cytology record; those not responding to smear invitations; laboratory performance; clinical acumen; and the reasons for true negative cervical smears. Multifactorial audit of all deaths from cervical cancer should be advocated nationally to assess and improve the effectiveness of the NSP.

Comment in

PMID:
8132804
PMCID:
PMC501751
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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