Researchers from Queen Mary University of London have set up a study to look at whether women who suffer health problems or have riskier lifestyles are less likely to attend cervical cancer screening. The aim of the cervical cancer screening programme is to detect and treat precancerous lesions to avoid the development of cervical cancer. This results in cervical cancer being observed less frequently in women who have attended cervical screening. However it is not clear whether the low risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer following a normal screening test is due to the screening test anole or whether it also reflects the possibility that those women who attend screening are healthier that those who do not, i.e. they are already at lower risk of cervical cancer than women who do not attend.
To explore whether this phenomenon exists and its magnitude the researchers have setup a record linkage study involving a sample of women who died between 1992 and 2012 and were aged 20-69 in 1992. These women will be compared to women (with a similar date of birth to the women who have died) selected at random from the cervical screening call/recall database. The researchers will not have access to names or dates of birth/death for the women included in the study. They will know the year of death and the year in which they had a cytology test but no other personal identifiers.
The researchers hope to publish this research by the end of 2017. For more information on the study or if you would like to know the results once they are published contact Alejandra Castanon at [email protected].