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Until 2003 the age at which the English Cervical Screening Programme invited women for their first cervical screening ranged from 20 to 24, depending on local screening policy.
In 2003 the age of first invitation was standardised at 25, on the grounds that normal changes in the cervix before
age 25 could lead to unnecessary treatment with potentially negative consequences for women’s
childbearing, while abnormal changes could be easily detected and treated at this later age.
Since that time there have been a number of publications addressing the impact of cervical screening on young women.
This review offers a critical overview of papers published on the topic since 2002, and includes a tabular summary of the main findings of each paper.