INTRODUCTION: Danish women exit cervical cancer screening at age 65 years, but 23% of cervical cancer cases occur beyond this age. In addition, due to gradual implementation of cervical cancer screening, older women are underscreened by today´s standards. A one-time screening with HPV test was therefore offered to Danish women born before 1948.
METHODS: Register based study reporting histology diagnoses and conizations in women found HPV positive in the one-time screening. Number and proportion of women with severe or non-severe histology results were calculated for screened and HPV-positive women by age group or region of residence. Number of women with biopsy and/or conization per case of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) grade 2 or worse (CIN2+) or CIN3+ were also calculated by age groups and region.
RESULTS: 4,479 (4.1% of screened women) had positive HPV test. 94% of these had one or more additional tests. 2,785 (62%) of HPV-positive women had histology results, and conization was performed in 1,076 (24% of HPV-positive and 1% of all screened women). HPV positivity and CIN3+ detection varied little between regions, but the proportions of HPV positive women undergoing histology varied between regions from 40% to 86% and the proportion with conization from 13% to 36%. Correspondingly, the number of histologies and conizations per CIN3+ detected varied from 5.9 to 11.2 and 1.8 to 4.7, respectively. In total, 514 CIN2+ (0.47% of screened women, 11% of HPV-positive) and 337 CIN3+ (0.31% of screened women, 7.5% of HPV-positive) were diagnosed, including 37 cervical cancer cases.
DISCUSSION: HPV screening of insufficiently screened birth cohorts can potentially prevent morbidity and mortality from cervical cancer but longer follow-up is needed to see if cancer incidence declines in the screened women in the coming years. Management strategies differed among regions which influenced the proportions undergoing biopsy/conization.