London: A new study has found that more and more women in their 20s are being diagnosed with cervical cancer despite overall incidence of the disease dropping by about a third.
According to new figures incidence of the disease across England rose by 43percent between 1992-94 and 2006-08, the Daily Express reported.
Women in England are invited for cervical screening every three years from the age of 25 while those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland screening starts from the age of 20.
The screening age in England was raised from 20 to 25 in 2003 but the Department of Health says lowering the age again could cause too many false positive results, leading to unnecessary and potentially harmful treatment for women.
Experts at Cancer Research UK, which analysed the data, said changing the screening age is not a driver behind the rise in cancer rates.
In 1992-1994, about six women aged 20 to 29 in every 100,000 (around 215 per year) were diagnosed with cervical cancer. This increased to around eight per 100,000 between 2006 and 2008 (around 283 cases per year).
Individual figures for 2007/08 suggest the problem could be getting worse, with around nine women in every 100,000 developing cervical cancer in that year.
In comparison, rates among women aged 50 to 79 have dropped significantly over the same period.
“The results of this research are a big concern as we know that cervical cancer is a largely preventable disease thanks to cervical screening,” said Robert Music, director of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.