Normal pap smear – later diagnosed with cancer


Around 70 Norwegian women are annually diagnosed with cervical cancer, even though everything looked normal on their last pap smear. Thea Steen was one such patient.

Each year 4,000 women are treated by the Cervical program managed by the Cancer Registry, however, Ameli Tropé who is responsible for the program admits to TV 2 that not all cases are detected.

– There are several things that can go wrong. It may be that the test is done incorrectly, that there is no patient history, so that results of previous screening tests are unknown, or it may be from not being accurate enough when  reviewing the test results, she says, but points out that there are very few who receive the wrong diagnosis.

Thea Steen, who is known for the “Sjekk deg” (check yourself) campaign, was one of the women who was diagnosed too late despite the fact that she was examined years in advance. Steen died in July last year.

– Her cancer diagnosis was delayed by 1 ½ years, says her mother Tove Steen.

Ole Erik Iversen is one of the nation’s foremost experts in cervical cancer and was involved in building up the screening program for cervical cancer. He says the program has weaknesses.

– A cell sample has 70 percent probability for capturing the changes that have to be there.

However, repeated tests increase the sensitivity by up to 90-95 percent. But this means that there is still a 5-10 percent of cases that are not caught, he said. He also emphasizes that it is important that women continue to be tested.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today