According to the results of recent study, cervical cancer rates in the United States may be much higher than previously thought, especially among older women.
The risk of invasive cervical cancer is thought to decline in women older than 65 years, and routine screening for the disease is only recommended up until this age. Previous estimates of cervical cancer prevalence, however, do not account for women who have had hysterectomies. The study, published online on May 12, 2014, in Cancer
, recalculated rates of cervical cancer, adjusting for hysterectomy rates from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
When women with hysterectomies were excluded, the overall prevalence of cervical cancer was 18.6 cases per 100,000 women, while previous studies estimated prevalence to be approximately 12 per 100,000. The result also indicated that cervical cancer rates continued to rise among women after 35 to 39 years of age, although at a slower rate than for those aged 20 to 34 years. In the current study, cervical cancer incidence was highest among women aged 65 to 69 years, with a rate of 27.4 cases per 100,000, while previous estimates indicated that prevalence was highest among women aged 40 to 44 years, with a rate of 15.6 cases per 100,000.