The relative importance of cancer of the cervix among several important causes of mortality (from cancer and other diseases) has been evaluated by estimating the years of life lost (YLL) by young and middle-aged women (25-64 years old) in different regions of the world. The life years were weighted to reflect their importance to the individual and to society. On a global basis, cancer of the cervix is responsible for about 2% of the total (weighted) YLL, fewer than for other causes of mortality in this age group. However, it is the most important cause of YLL in Latin America and the Caribbean. It also makes the largest contribution to YLL from cancer in the populous regions of SubSaharan Africa and South-Central Asia where the actual risk of loss of life from this cause is higher, although overshadowed by noncancer deaths (from AIDS, TB and maternal conditions). The overall picture is not very sensitive to the age weighting function used. The fact that most of the loss of life is preventable, and that simple technologies have been developed that make this practicable, means that cervical cancer has an even higher profile from the perspective of resource allocation in low income settings.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.