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Cervical Cancer Screening in Turkey: A Community-based Experience After 60 Years of Pap Smear Usage

  • Demirhindi, Hakan (Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Cukurova University) ;
  • Nazlican, Ersin (Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Cukurova University) ;
  • Akbaba, Muhsin (Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Cukurova University)
  • Published : 2012.12.31

Abstract

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in females in the World with around 500,000 new cases occurring annually, but the first in the developing countries with a high mortality if not diagnosed early. Papanicolau (Pap) smear is a cheap, easy-to-apply and widely accepted test which has been long used to detect cervical cancer at very early stages. However, despite being available for nearly 60 years, the test can hardly be considered to have become successfully applied in many communities. We aimed in this study to present the results of a screening survey for cervical cancer which targeted a women population aged between 35 and 40 living in a semi-rural area in the province of Hatay, located in the eastern Mediterranean region of Turkey, with specific aims of increasing early diagnosis, education and raising population awareness about cancers. This community-based descriptive study covered 512 women between 35 and 40 years of age living at Armutlu with a mean age of $37.6{\pm}1.7$. Gynecologic examinations revealed cervical erosion in 8 (1.6%), vaginitis in 193 (37.7%) and normal findings in 311 (60.7%); pathological evaluation reports of the smears were negative in 290 (56.6%), inflammation in 218 (42.6%) and ASC-US in 4 (0.8%), according to the 2001 Bethesda classification. It can be concluded that Pap smear test - proven to be a very valuable test at the clinical level- should also be widely used at the community level to detect cervical cancer at very early stages to reduce both the mortality and morbidity among healthy people. The need for continuous community-based cervical cancer screening programs is strongly suggested.

Keywords

Cancer;prevention;cervical cancer;pap smear;screening;community

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