Background: Invasive cervical cancer is thought to decline in women over 65 years old, the age at which cessation of routine cervical cancer screening is recommended. However, national cervical cancer incidence rates do not account for the high prevalence of hysterectomy in the United States.
Methods: Using estimates of hysterectomy prevalence from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), hysterectomy-corrected age-standardized and age-specific incidence rates of cervical cancer were calculated from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) 18 registry in the United States from 2000 to 2009. Trends in corrected cervical cancer incidence across age were analyzed using Joinpoint regression.
Results: Unlike the relative decline in uncorrected rates, corrected rates continue to increase after age 35-39 (APC(CORRECTED) = 10.43) but at a slower rate than in 20-34 years (APC(CORRECTED) = 161.29). The highest corrected incidence was among 65- to 69-year-old women, with a rate of 27.4 cases per 100,000 women as opposed to the highest uncorrected rate of 15.6 cases per 100,000 aged 40 to 44 years. Correction for hysterectomy had the largest impact on older, black women given their high prevalence of hysterectomy.
Conclusions: Correction for hysterectomy resulted in higher age-specific cervical cancer incidence rates, a shift in the peak incidence to older women, and an increase in the disparity in cervical cancer incidence between black and white women. Given the high and nondeclining rate of cervical cancer in women over the age of 60 to 65 years, when women are eligible to exit screening, risk and screening guidelines for cervical cancer in older women may need to be reconsidered.
Keywords: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System; SEER; age-specific; cervical cancer; disparities; human papillomavirus; hysterectomy; incidence.
© 2014 American Cancer Society.