Article Title

Opportunistic cervical screening among 50-70 year olds. A prospective study in general practice

Abstract

The very young and the elderly remain two of the more regular users of general practitioner services. Opportunistic screening such as immunisation surveillance, blood pressure recording and smoking cessation advice during routine surgery attendances are examples of simple, low-cost, good quality health promotion practices that are acceptable to those screened and are known to provide positive health benefits if properly dealt with. Elderly women, however, remain an at risk group for cervical cancer due to their poor screening rates. This study shows it is possible to substantially raise the screening rate by specifically targeting this age group. Two out of every three women advised to have a Pap smear agreed to the procedure. This resulted in a 73 per cent screening rate at the conclusion of the study. The modern general practitioner should seek to move away from the old shopkeeper role of general practice and instead use every consultation as an opportunity to improve the health standards of patients. This 'pro-active' role sets a greater emphasis on promoting better health through each and every doctor-patient encounter. Much of the workload of general practice has never been fully documented with the result that many of the preventive health measures promoted go unheralded. There is an ongoing need for quality general practice research by general practitioners if we are to maximise our potential in the health care we deliver.

Keywords

uterine cervical neoplasms, vaginal smears, mass screening, family practice

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