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Cervical Cancer: Screening

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether his Department has plans to keep under review its policy on the age at which cervical screening should begin; (290953)

(2) what plans his Department has to (a) commission and (b) evaluate new research to compare the incidence of cervical (i) abnormalities and (ii) cancer in the 20 to 24 year and 25 to 29 years age groups.

The cervical screening age range will be a standing item on the agenda of meetings of the independent Advisory Committee on Cervical Screening, which reviews all new research to assess its significance to the cervical screening programme. NHS Cancer Screening programmes maintain an on-line database of literature relating to cervical screening, and publish “Cervical Screening: Literature Update” twice a year. If further evidence is published that warrants another formal review of the screening age range, this will be done.

With regard to new research, cervical screening rates will continue to be monitored by the National Cancer Intelligence Network and the Cancer Research UK Centre for Epidemiology, Mathematics and Statistics. This includes monitoring cervical abnormalities and cancer in the 20 to 24 year and 25 to 29 year age groups.