For a comprehensive review of literature dispelling the myth that there is a big difference between high risk and low risk patients and screening for cervical cancer please read NUNS, VIRGINS, AND SPINSTERS’. RIGONI-STERN AND CERVICAL CANCER REVISITED, MALCOLM GRIFFITHS.
Put simply, over a long period of time a concept often explained and often repeated, acquires an authoritative stature it may not deserve . The concept’s very foundation may be faulty but the “test of time” is no test if, in all the retellings, the foundation is never reexamined.
In his article, Griffiths examines the much quoted proposition that low risk women do not require rigorous screening for cervical cancer. Who is at lower risk than a nun? It turns out this is a trick question because the risk of developing cervical cancer is about the same for a nun as an unmarried women and about half that of married women.
In the debate surrounding screening for cancer advocates of opposing positions tend to pick and believe evidence which agrres with therir respective positions. This is a debate in which women cannot afford to be driven by bias. They deserve the truth, their lives depend upon it.