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Global Inequalities Remain in Cervical Cancer Incidence

Different patterns of age-specific incidence observed between countries with and without well-developed population-based screening and treatment

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Dec. 16, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Substantial geographic and socioeconomic inequalities are seen in cervical cancer globally, according to a study published online Dec. 14 in The Lancet Global Health.

Deependra Singh, Ph.D., from the World Health Organization in Lyon, France, and colleagues estimated the age-specific and age-standardized incidence and mortality rates of cervical cancer per 100,000 women-years for 185 countries or territories. Time trends in incidence were extracted for 1988 to 2017.

The researchers identified an estimated 604,127 cervical cancer cases and 341,831 deaths globally in 2020, with a corresponding age-standardized incidence of 13.3 cases per 100,000 women-years and mortality rate of 7.2 per 100,000 women-years. There was a clear socioeconomic gradient observed in cervical cancer; as the Human Development Index (HDI) increased, the rates decreased. Countries with low versus very high HDI had a three times higher incidence, while mortality rates were six times higher in low versus very high HDI countries. A general decline in incidence was seen in most countries in 2020 estimates; in several high-income countries, incidence became stable at relatively low levels around 2005. In the same period, incidence increased in some countries in eastern Africa and eastern Europe. Different patterns of age-specific incidence were seen between countries with well developed population-based screening and treatment services versus those with insufficient and opportunistic services.

“Our critical appraisal of the data will provide timely evidence and impetus for future strategies aimed to prioritize national efforts and accelerate progress towards the WHO elimination targets and, in so doing, address the marked variations in the global cervical cancer incidence landscape,” the authors write.

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