A recent study shows that cervical cancer rates in the US have been underestimated and the real figures seem to be much higher. The prevalence of cervical cancer has been found to be particularly high among black women in their 60’s.

Earlier studies have estimated that the cervical cancer rates have been about 12 cases per 100,000 women and the incidence was highest in women between the ages of 40 to 44 years and then the incidence leveled off.

The earlier studies were a bit flawed because they included women who had hysterectomies in which the uterus was removed. So the latest study excluded these women since they were no longer relevant and the conclusion derived was as follows- overall rate of cervical cancer was 18.6 cases per 100,000 women. The study also found that the incidence of the disease peaked steadily up to the age of 65 to 69. The prevalence of Cervical Cancer in women between the ages of 65 to 69 years was 84% higher than earlier reported. The latest study was published in the Journal Cancer of May 12th.

Anne Rositch, an assistant professor of epidemiology and public health at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine said, “Our corrected calculations show that women just past 65, when current guidelines state that screenings can stop for many women, have the highest rate of cervical cancer”

The current figures of Cervical Cancer among White Women between the ages of 65 years to 69 years were less than 50% of the prevalence in Black Women. Incidentally Cervical Cancer rates are high in all ages in Black Women as compared to White Women.

The researchers wrote, “The higher rates of cervical cancer after correction for hysterectomy highlight the fact that, although a large proportion of cervical cancer has been prevented through early detection and treatment, it remains a significant problem,”

The findings are important because current U.S. cervical cancer screening guidelines do not recommend regular Pap smears for women older than 65.


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