Objective: To evaluate treatment patterns, including lack of treatment, among women diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States.
Methods: Using the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, we identified 13,715 women diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer between 1992 and 1999 and eligible for inclusion in the study.
Results: Nearly 9% of women diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer received no therapy for their disease. Lack of therapy was associated with a later stage of disease at diagnosis, older age, and unmarried status. More than 16% of women aged 65 and older with stage IIB/IV cervical cancer received no therapy for their disease.
Conclusion: We must educate women diagnosed with cervical cancer and their families about the importance of treatment for potential cure and control of symptoms. We must identify and overcome obstacles that may prevent adherence to treatment recommendations. These may include comorbidity, access to cancer treatment, inability to pay for treatment, and inadequate social support.