Rates of Cervical Cancer in the U.S. underestimated

A May 2014 study says the cervical cancer rates in black women and women in their 60s are understated because they include those who have had hysterectomies

Rates of cervical cancer are higher than previously reported, according to a May 2014 study, specifically among older women and black women.


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A May 2014 study says the cervical cancer rates in black women and women in their 60s are understated because they include those who have had hysterectomies.

Invasive cervical cancer is thought to decline in women over 65 years old, the age at which cessation of routine cervical cancer screening is recommended. However, national cervical cancer incidence rates do not account for the high prevalence of hysterectomy in the United States.

Using estimates of hysterectomy prevalence from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), hysterectomy-corrected age-standardized and age-specific incidence rates of cervical cancer were calculated from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) 18 registry in the United States from 2000 to 2009. Trends in corrected cervical cancer incidence across age were analyzed using Joinpoint regression.

Unlike the relative decline in uncorrected rates, corrected rates continue to increase after age 35-39 (APC(CORRECTED) = 10.43) but at a slower rate than in 20-34 years (APC(CORRECTED) = 161.29). The highest corrected incidence was among 65- to 69-year-old women, with a rate of 27.4 cases per 100,000 women as opposed to the highest uncorrected rate of 15.6 cases per 100,000 aged 40 to 44 years. Correction for hysterectomy had the largest impact on older, black women given their high prevalence of hysterectomy.

Correction for hysterectomy resulted in higher age-specific cervical cancer incidence rates, a shift in the peak incidence to older women, and an increase in the disparity in cervical cancer incidence between black and white women. Given the high and nondeclining rate of cervical cancer in women over the age of 60 to 65 years, when women are eligible to exit screening, risk and screening guidelines for cervical cancer in older women may need to be reconsidered.

Sources and more information:
  • Rates of Cervical Cancer Are Underestimated, Study Says,
    Time, May 12, 2014.
  • Increased age and race-specific incidence of cervical cancer after correction for hysterectomy prevalence in the United States from 2000 to 2009, NCBI PMID: 24821088, 2014 Jul 1;120(13):2032-8. doi: 10.1002/cncr.28548. Epub 2014 May 12.
    Full study on ReadCube.

Author: DES Daughter

Activist, blogger and social media addict committed to shedding light on a global health scandal and dedicated to raise DES awareness.

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