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October 28, 1961

Positive Cancer Smears in Teenage Girls

Author Affiliations

Miami, Fla.

From the Department of Obstetrics-Gynecology, University of Miami School of Medicine-Jackson Memorial Hospital.

JAMA. 1961;178(4):365-368. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040430001001

A study of a group of teenagers with positive cancer smears strengthened the author's conviction that all women deserve to have cytologic screening included in their pelvic examinations. It has been a common practice to omit cancer smears in the decades where cervical cancer is less frequent. Limitation based on age ignores the fact that overt cancer is preceded by a silent preclinical phase that is curable and can be detected by cytologic screening. Among a group of 1,500 women with positive smears there were 77 who were 19 years of age or less when the positive smear was found. Despite the failure of the majority of these girls to have the indicated biopsies, 10 have already been found to have intraepithelial carcinoma (in situ) of the cervix.