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Cervical Disease Treatment Not Linked to Premature Birth Risk
Date:8/17/2012

FRIDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment for cervical disease does not necessarily increase a woman's risk for preterm delivery, according to a new study.

The British researchers noted their findings are significant because about 40,000 women in England undergo cervical disease treatments every year. The findings also contradict previous studies that suggested women's risk of giving birth prematurely would increase by about 5.6 percent.

"Considering all those treated previously who may be planning to have children, there may be half a million women in the U.K. who can relax now and not worry that they are at increased risk of a preterm birth," study leader Peter Sasieni, professor of cancer epidemiology and biostatistics at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, part of Queen Mary, University of London, said in a university news release.

Routine cervical screenings to detect cancer may be followed up with a colposcopy. During this procedure, a colposcope is used to provide a larger view of the cervix. These women also may have a biopsy in which a small sample of tissue is taken from their cervix. Women who have moderate to severe cervical changes may also have the abnormal tissue removed in a large loop excision using a small tool and electric current, known as an LLETZ.

Previous research cautioned that these treatments could increase women's risk for giving birth to premature babies. To put this to the test, the researchers cross-referenced hospital obstetric records with the medical records of more than 44,000 women in England who had cervical tissue samples taken. They were able to identify more than 18,000 babies born to these women.

The researchers then examined the number of preterm births before and after colposcopy. They also compared women who had an LLETZ with those who only had a cervical biopsy. The investigators also compared preterm delivery rates among the study participants
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