Chief Physician believes many women die because of misinterpreted pap smears


Every year, at least 20 women die due to the fact that their pap smear tests have been incorrectly interpreted, says Chief Physician Sveinung Sørbye at University Hospital of Northern Norway.

– At least 20 women die each year because of misinterpreted pap smears, says Sørbye, who is the Chief Physician and specialist in clinical pathology at University Hospital of Northern Norway to TV 2.

According to the Chief Physician, the cell samples tested by 18 different laboratories, are interpreted subjectively. There are no requirements for pap smear techniques in Norway, for which Sørbye is highly critical.

Sørbye says that it is almost irrelevant how the samples are interpreted, and there are big differences from doctor to doctor on how the samples are analyzed and between the laboratories that test the samples.

– An example horror story is a doctor who had taken 15 cell samples through the course of a year and 13 of the tests were invalid, says Sørbye.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today