TUESDAY, Jan. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have been
diagnosed with and treated for precancerous cells on the cervix may
be at increased risk for developing and dying from cervical or
vaginal cancer, new research suggests.
However, the researchers added that the overall risk of cervical
or vaginal cancer is still low for women who have been diagnosed
and treated for abnormal cells on the cervix.
The study authors analyzed data from more than 150,000 Swedish
women who were treated for abnormal cells on the cervix. Of those,
nearly 1,100 were later diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer and
about 150 were diagnosed with invasive vaginal cancer. There were
more than 300 deaths from cervical cancer and about 50 deaths from
As women who had been treated for precancerous cells on the
cervix grew older, their risk of cervical or vaginal cancer
increased. The risk accelerated after age 60 and again after age
75, according to the study. The researchers found that incidence
rates of cervical and vaginal cancer in the oldest group of women
exceeded 100 per 100,000 women.
The more recently women had been treated for abnormal cells on
the cervix -- and the older they were at the time of treatment --
the greater their risk of cancer. Those who were treated at ages 60
to 69 had a five times higher risk than those treated at ages 30 to
39, according to the study.
The findings were published online Jan. 14 in the journal
The risk of death from cervical or vaginal cancer also increased
with age among women who had been treated for abnormal cells on the
cervix, according to a journal news release. Thirty years after
treatment, these women were more than twice as likely to die from
cervical or vaginal cancer than those in the general population. At
age 72, death rates from these cancers increased to 50 per 100,000
women, the study found.
The older a woman was when she was treated for precancerous
cells on the cervix, the greater her risk of death from cervical or
vaginal cancer, according to the news release.
The findings show that women who have been treated for abnormal
cells on the cervix "should be followed up in old age," said
researcher Bjorn Strander, from the University of Gothenburg, and
colleagues at the Karolinska Institute, both in Sweden.
It is worrying that the study found that women who received
treatment more recently were at greater risk of developing cervical
and vaginal cancer, Dr. Marc Arbyn, from the unit of cancer
epidemiology of the Scientific Institute of Public Health, in
Brussels, Belgium, said in an accompanying editorial.
Arbyn called for research to identify signs that predict a
woman's future risk of cervical and vaginal cancer.
"Measures should be taken to assure full compliance with
follow-up after treatment of cervical pre-cancer," he said.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
cervical cancer prevention.