This is an article that was written by Charles Bankhead, Staff Writer MedPage Today. The title of the article is Have Cervical CA Rates Been Underestimated, Published May 12, 2014. Mr. Bankhead’s piece is based on the work of Ann F. Rositch, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland.
Based on Ms. Rositch’s findings, Bankhead argues for heightened scrutiny in the evaluation of women over 60.
This is remarkable in a setting where in fact current recommendations by the Department of Health and Human Services are that women at 65 and older need not be screened further for cervical cancer.
In retrospect it is difficult to understand how this mistake could have been made. It was a statistical simple fallacy. When measuring the risk it is not appropriate to include a large segment of the population who are not at risk because they have already received a radical hysterectomy. If you exclude radical hysterectomy patients from women in general and examine only the risk of the remaining women in developing cervical cancer, the risk increases by more than 60%. This hardly supports the current recommendations that screening should be abandoned at age 65.