Until January 30, 2015 held the European Week of prevention of cervical cancer. The opportunity to remember that this cancer is highly treatable and tracks, provided they make a smear every three years. A soon generalized individual approach as part of an organized national screening.
Although its frequency is declining for 20 years, cervical cancer each year in France concerning nearly 3,000 women and causes about 1,000 deaths.
It is caused in almost all cases by a family of viruses, papillomaviruses, and infection generally occurs during sexual intercourse. Although 90% of women spontaneously resolve, the infection can cause cell abnormalities and some degenerate into cancer.
Towards a generalized screening smears
Screening is based on a Pap test to be performed every three years to detect precancerous lesions to heal quickly and prevent cancer. It is done individually, because there is currently no national program of cervical cancer screening, while it exists for breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
Problem: Today, 40% of women do not realize smears regularly and after 55 years, they are more than 50% to not get tested every three years.
Thirteen departments have experimented successfully organized smear screening. The results of this experiment are positive, that device must be extended to the whole territory in all women aged 25-65 year in the 2014-2019 Cancer Plan.
All women are they affected by the cervical cancer screening?
The Pap test is a key consideration for all women aged 25-65 years, including those who are vaccinated against HPV, as vaccination targets the most dangerous virus for cervical cancer, but it does not protect 100%.
According to the sexual life of their patient, the gynecologist can advise performing a smear before, but it is recommended not to begin before the age of 20 because cervical abnormalities induced by HPV develop three to eight years after viral infection.
Read also: The smear: too many women forget about it!
How is a Pap smear?
The smear practiced outside the rules, is not painful: the doctor places a speculum and collects cells on the cervix using a small spatula.
Once the sample has been removed, it is sent to a specialist pathologist determines whether the cells observed under microscope have abnormalities or not.
How often do the Pap smear?
The first two films should be made one year apart. If they are normal, the following must be carried out every three years.
If the smear is positive?
Additional tests - research of the genetic material of the virus, colposcopy and biopsy - are performed to determine if there is cancer and identify abnormalities that can be treated easily.