THURSDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have been treated for precancerous cervical lesions should see their cancer risk drop to normal after three "all clear" screening test results, Dutch researchers say.
These women can then resume screening for cervical cancer on the same schedule as the general population, they added.
"The question is how we should follow women who have been treated for precancerous cervical lesions," said lead researcher Dr. Chris Meijer, from the department of pathology at Vrije University Medical Center in Amsterdam.
The answer appears linked to two years worth of normal test results following treatment.
In the study, Meijer's team looked at the effectiveness of follow-up screening among 435 women who were treated for precancerous cervical lesions between July 1988 and November 2004. The women were given Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer and also tested for a virus linked to the cancer -- human papillomavirus, or HPV -- at 6, 12 and 24 months after treatment. If the test results were normal, they resumed normal testing, which in the Netherlands is once every five years.
The risk of developing new precancerous cervical lesions or cervical cancer over five years was 16.5 percent.
However, among women who had three normal Pap and HPV tests, the risk dropped to 3 percent in the same period, which is the same risk seen in women who never had precancerous cervical lesions, the researchers noted.
In addition, Meijer's group found that adding HPV testing made the one year screening unnecessary for women who had had a negative test at six months.
Women treated for precancerous cervical lesions who develop recurring disease need to be screened with Pap and human papillomavirus testing, but the best regimen for long-term follow-up hasn't been clear, the researchers said.
The report was published in the April
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