About 4,120 deaths from cervical cancer will occur in 2017, estimates the The American Cancer Society. A new analysis reveals that for most women, the risk of dying from
cervical cancer is higher than previously thought.
estimates that also included women who had undergone a hysterectomy and
were therefore no longer at risk, this analysis only included women with
‘Black women in the United States are dying from cervical cancer at a rate 77% higher than previously thought, while white women are dying at a rate 47% higher.’
Published early online in CANCER
, a peer-reviewed
journal of the American Cancer Society, the study also revealed
significant racial differences in the risk of dying from cervical
To re-examine cervical cancer mortality rates from 2002 to 2012 in
the United States, Anne Rositch of the Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public Health, and her colleagues obtained estimates
from the National Center for Health Statistics and the NCI
Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Mortality Database.
Information on hysterectomy prevalence was gathered from the Behavioral
Risk Factor Surveillance System survey to remove the large fraction of
women who were not at risk of dying from cervical cancer.
The researchers found that black women in the United States are
dying from cervical cancer at a rate 77% higher than previously
thought, while white women are dying at a rate 47% higher.
Specifically, the corrected mortality rate in black women was 10.1 per
100,000 women, compared with 5.7 per 100,000 uncorrected. The corrected
rate in white women was 4.7 per 100,000 compared with 3.2 per 100,000
Also, without the correction, the disparity in mortality between
races was underestimated by 44%. In addition, an analysis of the
corrected rates over the decade revealed that white women's rates of
death from cervical cancer decreased by 0.8% per year, compared
with an annual decrease of 3.6% in black women.
"Although trends over time show that the racial disparity in
cervical cancer mortality is closing, these data emphasize that it
should remain a priority area," said Dr. Rositch. "In addition, many of
those who are dying are over the age of 65, a cutoff point where
guidelines generally no longer recommend women with cervices be
regularly screened for cervical cancer," she added.
An accompanying editorial by Heather Dalton of Arizona
Oncology, and John Farley of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical
Center, highlights the effort that is needed going forward. "Racial
disparities in cancer mortality in general and cervical cancer
specifically continue to be a vexing problem in the United States," they
write. "Access to adequate cervical cancer screening and preventative
care remains critical to eliminating racial disparity."