Cervical cancer risk doubles in women with mental disorder: Study

Cervical cancer risk doubles in women with mental disorder: Study

Solna [Sweden], March 24 (ANI): Women suffering from mental illness, neuropsychiatric disability or substance abuse are less likely to undergo gynecological screening tests for cervical cancer and are more than twice as likely to develop the disease. Researchers from Karolinska Institutet revealed their findings in The Lancet Public Health, emphasizing the need to engage these women proactively as a preventive intervention against cervical cancer.

In May 2020, the WHO endorsed a global strategy to eliminate cervical cancer as a women’s health problem. Part of the strategy is a requirement that 70 percent of women be screened for the disease at least once before the age of 35 and twice before the age of 45.

According to the researchers, inequality in care is one of the biggest obstacles to this goal.

“Our study identified a high-risk group that needs extra attention if we are to succeed in eliminating cervical cancer,” says one of the study’s first authors, Kejia Hu, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Environmental Medicine at Karolinska Institutet.

The observational study included over four million women born between 1940 and 1995. From this population, the researchers calculated the risk of cervical cancer and precancerous cervical cancer as well as participation in cervical cancer screening programs, and compared women who were diagnosed by a specialist with mental illness, neuropsychiatric disability or substance abuse with women without such diagnoses.

“Our findings suggest that women with these diagnoses participate less frequently in screening programs while having a higher incidence of cervical lesions,” said Dr. Hu. “So we found that they are twice as likely to develop cervical cancer.” An elevated risk was observed for all diagnoses, but the largest association was noted for substance abuse. Women with mental illness should be made more aware of the need to undergo regular gynecological screening, according to the researchers: “It would reduce their risk of cancer,” says one of the paper’s authors Karin Sundström, senior researcher at the Department of Laboratory Medicine. , Karolinska Institutet. “Similarly, if healthcare professionals are more aware of the cancer risk in these patients, they can intensify preventive measures and consider how these could be delivered to potentially underserved patients.” The strength of the study lies in the large size of the cohort and the length of time during which the participants were studied. One limitation is that the researchers did not have complete information on other cervical cancer risk factors such as smoking, hormonal contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases.

The study was funded by the Cancer Foundation. One of the researchers has received remuneration from a pharmaceutical company for other studies. No other conflicts of interest have been reported. (ANI)

Source: sn.dk

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