Cervical cancer study findings may guide physicians and patients in follow-up treatment decisions
Research from the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research has found that women treated for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (abnormal cervical cell growth) are at higher risk for a recurrence of the disease or invasive cervical cancer.
The large population-based study, which appeared online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, sheds new light on the long-term risks of subsequent abnormal cell growth or invasive cancer, and should help in the development of followup treatment guidelines for women with a history of treatment for abnormal cells.
"We now have a much more clear idea of the risks of recurrent abnormal cells and invasive cervical cancer over time after treatment of these cells," says Joy Melnikow, professor of family and community medicine and director of the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research, who led the study. "Recurrence risk depends on the grade of abnormal cells that were initially treated, what treatment was used, and the woman's age."
The study, which used data from the British Columbia Cancer Agency cytology database and was funded by a National Cancer Institute grant, looked at 37,142 women treated for abnormal cells from Jan. 1, 1986, through Dec. 31, 2000, and compared them with a group of 71,213 women with no previous diagnosis of abnormal cells./p>
They found that risk of subsequent abnormal cells or cervical cancer was associated with the type of treatment they received, their age and the initial grade of diagnosis. At later stages, the type of treatment depends on several variables, including the grade and distribution of abnormal cells, and whether the patient has been treated previously.
Melnikow says the findings could help guide physicians in making recommendations about the intensity of follow up needed after treatment for abnormal cells. In addition, she said the findings may help physicians and patients in deciding which type of treatment for abnormal cells to choose.