Cervical testing beyond the screening target age
After exceeding the screening age range only opportunistic testing is available. Opportunistic testing may exacerbate inequalities in health between different socio-economic groups. Targeted cervical screening on high-risk groups among older women is necessary.

Researchers examined the coverage and factors that might influence cervical testing beyond the age range of the organized cervical screening program in Finland. The national program invites women in every five years at least until the age of 60. After the stopping age, only opportunistic service is available.

Data on cervical testing were collected from the Mass Screening Registry and providers of opportunistic Pap/HPV-testing and were linked with information on socio-economic variables. The study included 373,353 women who had at least one invitation to the national screening program between ages 50–60 years, and who were aged 65–74 years in the follow-up period 2006–2016.

--Altogether 33% of the study population had been tested at least once at ages 65–74 years.

--Previous regular screening attendance and earlier abnormal results were most clearly related to higher testing adherence at an older age.

--Other factors related to higher testing adherence were an urban area of residence, domestic mother tongue, high education level, and high socioeconomic status.

In summary, testing at an older age was frequent with normal results, whereas only a small proportion of women with earlier abnormal results or irregular attendance were tested.

Gynecologic Oncology
Source: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2021.05.019