Impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on cervical cancer screening; experiences of a tertiary hospital
Cervical cancer screening in the Covid-19 Pandemic
Keywords:Covid-19, colposcopy, pandemic, cervical cancer, smear test, screening
Aim: To evaluate the number and outcomes of patients who underwent cervical cancer screening at our hospital before and during the pandemic and to demonstrate changes in rates of cervical cancer screening.
Material and Methods: Patients presenting to the gynecology outpatient clinic between January 2018 and March 2022 were included in the study. The plan was to compare patients who attended cervical cancer screening in the pre-pandemic period (January 2018 to February 2020) and in the post-pandemic period (March 2020 to March 2022). Rates of regular cervical cancer screening were determined by calculating the total number of patients who enrolled before the pandemic and during the pandemic period.
Results: During the study period, a total of 50486 patients presented to the gynecology outpatient clinic, 6330 smears were taken, and 231 colposcopies were performed. Comparing the pre-pandemic and post-pandemic periods, the number of smears was statistically significantly lower in patients who presented to the outpatient clinic in the pre-pandemic period, while the number of patients who underwent colposcopy was statistically significantly higher. There was no significant difference between the histopathological results of the smear before and after the pandemic. There was no significant difference between the histopathologic results of patients who underwent colposcopy before and after the pandemic. However, it was found that smear histopathology results reported as "inadequate" increased in the post-pandemic period (p:0.002). Histopathology results of patients who underwent colposcopy did not differ significantly between time periods.
Conclusion: Cervical cancer is an important problem for women's health and each country has established its own routine screening program for cervical cancer. Routine screening is interrupted in situations such as pandemics. These interruptions can lead to an increased risk of cervical cancer in later years. To ensure that the routine screening program reaches the target population as soon as possible after the pandemic, new action plans should be established and the potential increase in cervical cancer risk prevented.
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