Cervical cancer in women under 25 years of age and outside the screening age: Diagnosis profile and long-term outcomes

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2021 Jul;154(1):150-156. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.13553. Epub 2021 Jan 27.


Objective: To evaluate the pattern of cervical cancer (CC) diagnosis and outcomes in women under 25.

Methods: Thirty-two women younger than 25 years of age treated between 2001 and 2016 were studied and the year, symptom or cytology before diagnosis, time since sexual debut, age group, histology, and stage were considered. Data were compared with older age groups, and survival analysis was performed using a subset of them.

Results: Thirty-two CC diagnoses (1.5% of all cases) exhibited a positive linear trend (P = 0.075). Driven by cytology, 18 were asymptomatic and 14 were symptomatic (with vaginal bleeding in 11). The mean time since sexual debut was 6.9 years. Advanced stage (44% vs 29%) and adenosquamous histology (12.5% vs 1.7%-5.0%) were higher in younger women. Five-year overall survival rate was 76%, better for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) (86% vs 43% for other histologies; P = 0.018). There were seven deaths, all within 15 months of diagnosis. Age groups of less than 25 years (53%) and 25-29 years (48.5%) had similar proportions of Stage IA1.

Conclusion: The rate of CC-diagnosed women under 25 years was 1.5% of all cases, exhibiting more advanced stage and non-SCC histology. For asymptomatic women, cytology allowed the diagnosis at an early stage. Being symptomatic and non-SCC was associated with a higher proportion of advanced stages and poor survival.

Keywords: adenosquamous carcinoma; cancer screening; cervical cancer; cytology; survival analysis; young adult.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis*
  • Cytodiagnosis
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*