A diagnosis of cervical cancer can be ignored for patients who have the symptoms of the disease if they have recently had a Pap smear, a new study from the London Health Sciences Center (LHSC) suggests.
As part of the study, recently published in the Cureus Journal of Medical Science, the London Regional Cancer Program of the LHSC examined 38 women under 50 diagnosed with cervical cancer who received chemotherapy.
According to the study, 13 of these 38 women underwent a Pap smear within two years or less of their diagnosis, which may have led doctors to rule out cervical cancer as the reason for patients' symptoms.
Some of the patients, who were also interviewed as part of the study, said they believed delays in diagnosis resulted in a life-threatening quality of life for them.
The authors of the study say that the decision to reduce routine screening frequency every three years, with women starting screening at age 25, may be a contributing factor to this trend.
"There may be a perception that cervical cancer is unlikely in a woman compatible with screening," the study says.
"With an uncommon Pap smear, several participants expressed that they did not believe it was possible to have cervical cancer. Many felt that a similar perception was imposed on them by health care providers. "
Despite the presence of cervical cancer symptoms, the study suggests that other factors, due to earlier results, may have been used to explain the symptoms, such as the fact that the patient is too young to get cervical cancer. uterus and previous procedures such as cesarean section. .
"The bleeding was attributed to my period and I was told to go home," said one patient in the study.
The authors of the study conclude that cervical cancer should be considered as part of any diagnosis, regardless of previous results, and they reiterate the importance of a pelvic exam "as part of routine care and particularly when there are symptoms."