Age Specific Cytological Abnormalities in Women Screened for Cervical Cancer in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi

  • Al Zaabi, Muna (Family Medicine, Ambulatory Healthcare Services) ;
  • Al Muqbali, Shaikha (Family Medicine, Ambulatory Healthcare Services) ;
  • Al Sayadi, Thekra (Family Medicine, Al Ain Hospital) ;
  • Al Ameeri, Suhaila (Consultant Anatomic Pathology, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City) ;
  • Coetsee, Karin (Senior Medical Lab Technologist, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City) ;
  • Balayah, Zuhur (Medical Research Assistant, UAE University) ;
  • Ortashi, Osman (Consultant in Gynecology & Gynecological Cancers, UAE University)
  • Published : 2015.10.06


Background: Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide, with about 500,000 new cases and 270,000 deaths each year. Globally, it is estimated that over one million women currently have cervical cancer, most of whom have not been diagnosed, or have no access to treatment that could cure them or prolong their lives. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women. Materials and Methods: A population-based cross-sectional retrospective survey of cervical smear abnormalities was conducted in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, UAE, from January 2013 to December 2013 by collecting consecutive liquid-based cytology samples from the Department of Pathology at the SKMC Hospital in Abu Dhabi city. Results: The total number of women screened for cervical cancer for the year 2013 at SKMC was 4,593, with 225 (4.89%) abnormal smears. The majority of the abnormal smear results were atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS) 114 (2.48%). This study showed 60% increase in the rate of abnormal cervical smears in the UAE over the last 10 years. In this study the highest incidence of high grade abnormalities were seen in women above the age of 61years (1.73%), this might be due to the fact that this group of women missed the chance of screening of cervical cancer earlier in their lives or could be explained by the well-known second peak of HPV infection seen in many prevalence studies. Conclusions: We conclude that the rate of abnormal cervical smear in the screened Abu Dhabi women is not different from the rate in developed countries. A notable increase in both low and high grade abnormalities has occurred within the last decade.


Cervical cancer;cervical Pap smear results;Abu Dhabi;age-dependence


  1. el-All HS, Refaat A, Dandash K (2007). Prevalence of cervical neoplastic lesions and human papilloma virus infection in egypt: national cervical cancer screening project. Infect Agent Cancer, 4, 2-12.
  2. Al Alawi S, Al Dhaheri A, Al Baloushi D, Al Dhaheri M, Prinsloo EA (2014). Physician user satisfaction with an electronic medical records system in primary healthcare centres in Al Ain: a qualitative study. BMJ Open, 4, 5569.
  3. Al Eyd GJ, Shaik RB (2012). Rate of opportunistic pap smear screening and patterns of epithelial cell abnormalities in pap smears in Ajman, United Arab Emirates. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J, 12, 473-8
  4. Altaf FJ (2006). Cervical cancer screening with pattern of pap smear: review of multicenter studies. Saudi Med J, 27, 1498-502
  5. Ayhan A, Dursun P, Kuscu E (2009). Prevalence of cervical cytological abnormalities in Turkey. Int J Gynecol Obstet, 106, 206-9
  6. Bal MS, Goyal R, Suri AK, (2012). Detection of abnormal cervical cytology in papanicolaou smears. J Cytol, 29, 45-7
  7. Balaha MH, Al Moghannum MS, Al Ghowinem N, (2011). Cytological pattern of cervical papanicolaou smear in eastern region of Saudi Arabia. J Cytol, 28, 173-7
  8. Bukhari MH, Saba K, Qamar S (2012). Clinicopathological importance of papanicolaou smears for the diagnosis of premalignant and malignant lesions of the cervix. J Cytol, 29, 20-5
  9. Cancer Research United Kingdom (2014). Cervical cancer statistics and outlook.
  10. Elhakeem HA, Al-ghamdi AS, Al-maghrabi JA (2005). Cytopathological pattern of cervical pap smear according to the bethesda system in Southwestern Saudi Arabia. Saudi Med J, 26, 588-92
  11. Fonn S, Bloch B, Mabina M (2002). Prevalence of pre-cancerous lesions and cervical cancer in South Africa--a multicentre study. South Afr Med J, 92, 148-56
  12. Ghazal-aswad S, Gargash H, Badrinath P (2006). Cervical smear abnormalities in the United Arab Emirates: a pilot study in the Arabian Gulf. Acta Cytol, 50, 41-7
  13. Gupta K, Malik NP, Sharma VK (2013). Prevalence of cervical dysplasia in western uttar pradesh. J Cytol, 30, 257-62
  14. HAAD (2012). Health authority abu dhabi standards for the cervical cancer screening. cancer control section, public health and policy. health authority abu dhabi, abu dhabi. 2012
  15. Health Authority Abu Dhabi (2014). Health statistics 2013.
  16. Insinga P, Glass AG, Rush BB (2004). Diagnoses and outcomes in cervical cancer screening: a population-based study. Am J Obstetrics Gynecol, 191, 105-13
  17. Kapila K, George SS, Al-shaheen A (2006). Changing spectrum of squamous cell abnormalities observed on papanicolaou smears in mubarak al-kabeer hospital, kuwait, over a 13-year period. Med Prin Pract, 15, 253-9
  18. Karabulut A, Alan T, Ali Ekiz M (2010). Evaluation of cervical screening results in a population at normal risk. Int J Obstet Gynecol, 110, 40-2
  19. Ministry of Health (2008). Annual report. Health Policies Sector, United Arab Emirates, 2008, 22
  20. Richter K, Becker P, Horton A (2013). Age-specific prevalence of cervical human papillomavirus infection and cytological abnormalities in women in gauteng province, South Africa. South Afr Med J, 103, 313-7
  21. Schnatz PF, Markelova NV, Holmes D (2008). The prevalence of cervical HPV and cytological abnormalities in association with reproductive factors of rural nigerian women. J Women's Health, 17, 279-85
  22. Shipitsyna E, Zolotoverkhaya E, Kuevda D (2011). Prevalence of high-risk human papillomavirus types and cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions in women over 30 years of age in St. petersburg, Russia. J Cancer Epidemiol, 35, 160-4
  23. World Health Organization (2006). Comprehensive cervical cancer control a guide to essential practice.
  24. World Health Organization (2014). New guidance for the prevention and control of cervical cancer.
  25. Yalti S, Gurbuz B, Bilgic R (2005). Evaluation of cytologic screening results of the cervix. Int J Gynecol Cancer, 15, 292-4

Cited by

  1. Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Sudanese Women Regarding the Pap Smear Test and Cervical Cancer vol.17, pp.2, 2016,