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Pap test screening for cervical cancer among women with a substance use hospital admission

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The aim of this study is to use linked administrative health data to examine; (1) cervical cytology screening, (2) high grade abnormalities and (3) cervical cancer in a population of women with a substance- related hospital admission.

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The study population was women with an admission to a NSW hospital in 2000-2007. Eligible women were 20-54 years of age who had a hospital admission with a substance use code (cases in our study) and a sample of women of the same age who had an admission in the same year as cases and who did not have a substance use code (controls). A total of 19,760 cases (women with a drug-related hospital admission) and 199,197 controls (women with no drug-related hospital admission) were in the linked dataset. The most commonly recorded diagnosis was mental and behavioral disorders due to psychoactive substance use (85%), mainly for cannabinoids (43%) or opioids (35%), and poisoning by drugs (17%).


Compared to women admitted to hospital who have no substance use diagnosis code, cases were at increased risk of cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer: they also had less screening.

Anne Kricker, Lucinda Burns, Chris Goumas, Bruce K. Armstrong (2013). Cervical screening, high-grade squamous lesions, and cervical cancer in illicit drug users. Cancer Causes & Control, Volume 24, Issue 7, pp 1449-1457, DOI 10.1007/s10552-013-0224-y.

Improved evidence to advocate for increased screening in women who are substance dependent and to ensure treatment is available for those who screen positive.

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