IS THERE an "epidemic" of cervical dysplasia in young women? While reports from other countries have used the word, US physicians are stopping short of doing so. Yet, they are voicing strong concern about seeing an increasing number of women under 25 years of age not only with dysplasia, but, in some cases, carcinoma in situ of the cervix or vulva. Many believe this increase is yet another health problem arising from changed sexual mores. And some even suggest it presages a change in the natural history of cervical cancer.
Much of the US physicians' data has yet to be published, and not everyone is convinced that an upward trend exists. Susan S. Devesa, PhD, an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md (which does not collect data on dysplasia incidence), says that "we've been expecting some increase [in cervical cancer] just because of the increased prevalence of some