Cervical cancer diagnoses and deaths to rocket in older women

Women aged 50-64 will see a 62 per cent increase in incidence of cervical cancer which could lead to a 143 per cent rise in mortality by 2040, according to research published in The Lancet Public Health.

Funded by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust and Cancer Research UK, the research also found that while older women will be at increasing risk of cervical cancer, the incidence of cervical cancer in young women is set to decline 75 per cent by 2040, with deaths close to eradicated, as a result of introducing both HPV primary screening and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

The research also found that:

  • Incidence among 50-54 year olds will increase 50 per cent from 177 cases in 2015 to a projected 265 cases in 2040
  • Incidence among 60-64 year olds will increase 54 per cent from 144 cases in 2015 to a projected 222 in 2040 and mortality 109 per cent from 79 to 165 deaths a year
  • The introduction of more effective vaccination and screening test could see incidence more than halve among 25-44 year olds, from 1,313 cases in 2015 to a projected 599 in 2040
  • Screening attendance is declining year-on-year, having fallen 3.4 per cent in England since 2012, and if it were to decline to 66 per cent (currently 72 per cent), among 60-64 year olds alone incidence will rise 71 per cent and mortality could rise 128 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, Robert Music, chief executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “We are on the path to eradicating cervical cancer among young women which is extraordinary. However, we are faced with an immediate challenge among women who will be over 50 in 2040. This research should serve as a wake up call and the need for action. Continued declining cervical screening attendance will cost lives at all ages and must not happen. We are faced with an aging population and risk among older women rocketing, therefore changes to the programme which could reduce this risk must be explored, including increasing the screening age from 64 and self testing.”



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