Health Alert: Annual Pap Smears Recommended

“We don’t know the reason for this increasing incidence of cervical adenocarcinoma…”

Melbourne Colposcopist Dr Ross Pagano stresses the importance of Pap smears, recommending that all young women have an annual Pap smear due to the increase in incidence of glandular cell cervical cancer in young women.

When I first began practice as a Colposcopist 32 years ago, the incidence of cytology detected glandular cell abnormalities of the cervix, namely Adenocarcinoma -in-Situ (ACIS), was very low, approximately 3% of all abnormal smears. The malignant cervical adenocarcinoma and the precancerous ACIS were very uncommon in women under 30 years of age.

Recently there has been a disturbing increase in the number of young women presenting with these glandular cell abnormalities of the cervix.

Based on this clinical observation, I recommend all young sexually active women to have an annual Pap smear. This would pick up this abnormality (as well as the usual type of cervical pre-cancer) earlier and hence at a more easily treatable stage. This would result in the need for less destructive treatment to the cervix and hence help avoid future child bearing difficulties.

We don’t know the reason for this increasing incidence of cervical adenocarcinoma. We know that it is wart virus (HPV) related but why it has become more common is a mystery. Hence the most sensible and safest option for all young women is to be screened annually.


Dr Ross Pagano, February 2014

Published in our newsletter DESPATCH in 2014