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Papanicolaou Testing

Jeanne Mandelblatt, MD; Mary Lou Skovron, DPH; Irene Gopaul, FNP
JAMA. 1985;253(22):3251. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350460046013.
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To the Editor.—  Dr Stenkvist and colleagues,1 in their recent article, note up to a fourfold increase in the incidence of cervical cancer in women who have never had a Papanicolaou smear compared with women who have been screened at least once. These results support recommendations that women who have never been screened are at high risk of cervical cancer and should be screened. The authors do not comment, however, on several additional aspects of their data regarding the age distribution of their "nonparticipants" in Papanicolaou smear screening.In their population, prevalence of prior screening declined with age. Ninety percent of younger women (aged 30 to 59 years) had had at least one Papanicolaou test, compared with 53% of women aged 60 to 69 years and 25% of women aged 70 years and older. However, the older age groups (women ≥60 years) constituted 40% of the total female population

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