Pap Smears Tied to Higher Cervical Cancer Survival

Women who get regular pap smears are more more likely to survive cervical cancer, MedPage Today reported March 2.

Women whose cancer was detected from pap screenings were 26 percent more likely to be cured of the disease than women who were diagnosed once they became symptomatic, Bengt Andrae, M.D., of Uppsala University in Sweden, and her colleagues find.

Further, women whose cervical cancer was discovered via symptoms but who had followed their recommended pap-smear schedule had a 14-percent higher cure rate than women who did not get regular pap smears.

Cervical-cancer screenings can help doctors detect invasive cancers at early stages, and help doctors find and remove precancerous lesions before they develop into full-blown cancer, the study authors say.

Women should get their first pap smear at age 21 and follow-ups every two years, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The study appears online in the British Medical Journal.

Reader Question: Do you get regular cervical cancer screenings?