It was the purpose of this study to find out the incidence of cancer of the cervix in a selected group of Seventh-day Adventist women. This was to be accomplished by an exfoliative cytological survey of smears for cervical cancer and the relation of the incidence found to the age, race, marital status, pregnancy status, geographic origin and endocrine therapy of the participants. These participants were the 2248 women who had cervical and/or vaginal smears made while in San Francisco to attend a religious conference in July of 1962.
From a review of literature it was found that cancer of the cervix may be present in early stages without manifesting signs or symptoms of the disease. The disease could be detected in these early stages if women would avail themselves of the cytological methods used for detecting cancer of the cervix. The Papanicolaou smear is one of these methods and is 90 per cent reliable in cancer detection. It was found that age, race, marital and pregnancy status have a relation to the incidence of cancer of the cervix; however, no substantial evidence showed that endocrine therapy or geographic location influenced this incidence.
The data from a brief history of the participant were analyzed according to the factors of age, race, marital status, pregnancy status (gravida, para and abortion), geographic location and endocrine therapy as related to the pathologist's findings on the smears. The pathologist's findings were classified according to Papanicolaou's Classification. From the smears of over 2248 women participating in the study the major finding was that there were no malignant cells found. Less than 3 percent of the women had cytology suggestive of malignancy in the Class III group. Data from this group of 48 women were also analyzed and tabulated.
The group ranged in age from twenty to over eighty years of age with the largest groups being between 50 and 69 years of age. The major portion (87%) of the group were Caucasian. Although 88. 3 percent of the total group were married, over half of the women had only borne from one to three children. Of the total group 86. 6 percent were from the United States representing forty-eight states and the District of Columbia. Over half (51. 3%) of the total group originated in California. Over thirty foreign countries were represented by 301 (13. 3%)women participating in the study.
When considering percentages of women participating in each category of the women with Class III smears, the most significant percentages were the age groups over 49 years of age, the Oriental and Negro race, and women originating in the United States.
Although no women with smears demonstrating malignant cells were found, it was concluded that the study had brought an awareness of the existence of a method for detecting cancer of the cervix in those participating in the study. Due to the 90 per cent reliability of the cytological examination used 10 per cent of the group may have had undetected cancer. It was recognized that the results of this study could not be applied to Seventh-day Adventists in general.
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Riffel, Charleene W., "The Incidence of Cancer of the Cervix in a Selected Group of Women" (1964). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 1637.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives