Cervical cytology: The need for routine screeningin the sexually active adolescent

Karen Hein, Klaus Schreiber, Michael I. Cohen, Leopold G. Koss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Pelvic examinations, including a Papanicolaou smear of the uterine cervix, were performed on 403 asymptomatic, sexually active adolescent girls aged from 12 to 16 years who were in a youth detention ceter in New York City. The smears were negative for precancerous abnormalities in 389 girls, but 168 of these had evidence of inflammation or nonspecific atypia. In the remaining 14 smears there was cytologic evidence of early precancerous changes (low-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia). The prevalence rate for early neoplastic changes was 35/1,000, far higher than previously reported. Further evaluation of three of these girls, by colposcopy and biopsy, revealed precancerous epithelial abnormalities of varying degrees of severity in two of them. Since all patients screened were sexually active and were asyptomatic, no clinical feature distinguished the 389 with negative cytology from the 14 with intraepithelial neoplasia. Five of the patients with precancerous cellular abnormalities had histories of sexual activity of less than two years. The data suggest that cervical cytologic screening should be incorporated into the routine examination of sexually active female adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-126
Number of pages4
JournalThe Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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