Screening history of women with invasive cervical cancer in north-east Italy

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2010 Oct;152(2):200-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2010.06.005. Epub 2010 Jul 27.


Objectives: To describe screening histories of women with invasive cervical cancer (ICC) in Friuli Venezia Giulia, after the introduction of organized screening, in order to identify possible reasons undermining prevention of ICC. To investigate associations between screening histories in relation to women's survival and tumor characteristics, with a focus on organized and opportunistic screenings.

Study design: 438 women, diagnosed with ICC between 1999 and 2005, were identified using the regional Cancer Registry. Cytological and histopathological information were obtained through regional health databases. Associations between different screening histories and characteristics of women and their tumors were evaluated by means of odds ratios (OR) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI), through multinomial logistic regression models adjusted for age; death risks were estimated by computing hazard ratios (HR) with 95% CI, using Cox models adjusted for age, tumor stage, and histology.

Results: 165 (38%) women with ICC had no Pap smears: 71 (16%) never attended the organized screening despite invitation; 69 (16%) were never invited because they were above 64 years of age; and 25 (6%) were yet to be invited. Conversely, 273 (62%) women underwent screening: 141 women (32%) had opportunistic screening; 132 (30%) women attended the organized program. A total of 193 (44%) women had ICC detected at screening. Compared to women with ICC who had never been screened, those screened within the organized program were more often at stage IA (46%), were seldom at stage II or higher (OR=0.3, 95% CI: 0.1-0.6, vs. IB), and showed a lower risk of death (HR=0.6, 95% CI: 0.3-1.0).

Conclusions: In Friuli Venezia Giulia, the lack of screening among older women and of compliance with organized programs among women in the target population are the main limitations in cervical cancer secondary prevention. Our findings indicate that participation in organized screening has a beneficial effect in terms of down-staging and improved survival as compared to both absence of screening and opportunistic screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data*