Prevalence of abnormalities influences cytologists' error rates in screening for cervical cancer

Karla K. Evans, Rosemary H. Tambouret, Andrew Evered, David C. Wilbur, Jeremy M. Wolfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Medical screening tasks are often difficult, visual searches with low target prevalence (low rates of disease). Under laboratory conditions, when targets are rare, nonexpert searchers show decreases in false-positive results and increases in false-negative results compared with results when targets are common. This prevalence effect is not due to vigilance failures or target unfamiliarity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1557-1560
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of pathology & laboratory medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Boston
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Prevalence
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms
  • Vaginal Smears
  • Wales

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