Autoimmune conditions may increase risk of cervical cancer

While it might not be the most pleasant experience, a new study has shed further light on the importance of regular cervical screening and access to cervical cancer prevention programs, particular for women at increased risk of cervical cancer.

New research published in PLOSONE this week has shown that women with autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and inflammatory bowel disease may be at greater risk of cervical cancer.

The observational study by Foster et al. (2020), which matched cervical screening episodes to emergency department record from women with and without autoimmune disorders over a 14-year period, found that women with autoimmune conditions had higher rates of low-grade cell abnormalities.

The study authors say that the higher rates of low-grade cell abnormalities in women with autoimmune conditions is consistent with increased these women being more susceptible to HPV infection.

The study also included women with systemic lupus erythematosus and/or mixed connective tissue disease (SLE/MCTD), and HIV, comparing these women to controls, and found that women with SLE/MCTD or HIV also had great rates of high-grade cell abnormalities.

The study authors conclude: “These findings support expansion of cervical cancer preventative programs to include these at-risk females.”

To read the study, click here.

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