Women still face cancer risk 25 years after treatment for pre-cancerous lesions
A new study has suggested that women may still have an increased risk of developing cervical or vaginal cancer 25 years after being treated for the most severe form of pre-cancerous changes in the cells of the cervix, sometimes called CIN3 or CIS.
Cancer Research UK experts say the finding reinforces the importance of continuing to attend regular smear test appointments.
The researchers recommend that women treated for pre-cancerous lesions following an abnormal smear test should go for regular tests for at least 25 years after treatment, even if they have passed their 60th birthday.
The NHS provides free cervical cancer screening tests every three to five years to all women between the ages of 25 and 64. Dr Anne Szarewski, clinical consultant for Cancer Research UK, said: "This study suggests that the less aggressive treatments used for high grade cervical abnormalities in the last 20 years may leave women with a slightly higher long term risk of developing cancer.
"This slight increase in risk must be balanced against the benefit of avoiding a hysterectomy and side effects of other therapies. Any woman concerned about their risk should speak to their doctor."