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Objective: To evaluate the distribution of abnormal cytohistopathology among low-income women 35 years and older compared with women younger than 35 years.

Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of the 896 women who presented to the dysplasia clinic at an urban, public, tertiary care hospital with abnormal cervical cytology from September 23, 2008, to September 23, 2010. Statistical comparisons were made using t, [chi]2, and Wilcoxon rank sum tests.

Results: Of the 896 patients, 460 (51%) were aged 35 years or older. Among the women 35 years and older, 56% had negative/benign histologic findings compared with 45% in women younger than 35 years. Conversely, women 35 years and older had lower rates of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 1 (14%) than women younger than 35 years (30%). However, the prevalence of cancer diagnosis, per colposcopy, increased significantly with age, affecting 6% of women aged 50 years or older, 2% of women aged 35 to 49 years, and 1% of women younger than 35 years (p = .0008).

Conclusions: Women older than 35 years with abnormal cytology demonstrated increased severity of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia on histology compared with younger women. Although women younger than 35 years were more likely to have transient human papillomavirus infections, a very high prevalence of severe cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and cancer was identified among women aged 35 years and older. Careful evaluation and follow-up must be performed for this group of women who may have previously been considered by some clinicians to be low risk on the basis of their age.

Copyright (C) 2014 by the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology