(HealthDay News) — New research has quantified global inequalities in cervical cancer incidence and mortality. The research was published in The Lancet Global Health.

Researchers estimated age-specific and age-standardized incidence and mortality rates of cervical cancer per 100,000 women-years for 185 countries or territories. Time trends in incidence were extracted for 1988 to 2017.

The researchers identified an estimated 604,127 cervical cancer cases and 341,831 deaths globally in 2020. The age-standardized incidence was 13.3 cases per 100,000 women-years, and the mortality rate was 7.2 per 100,000 women-years.

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Across countries, the cervical cancer incidence ranged from 2.2 per 100,000 women-years in Iraq to 84.6 per 100,000 women-years in Eswatini. Cervical cancer mortality rates ranged from 1.0 per 100,000 women-years in Switzerland to 55.7 per 100,000 women-years in Eswatini.

As the Human Development Index (HDI) increased, cervical cancer incidence and mortality decreased. Countries with a low HDI had a 3 times higher incidence of cervical cancer than countries with a very high HDI. Mortality rates were 6 times higher in countries with a low HDI than in countries with a very high HDI.

A general decline in cervical cancer incidence was seen in most countries in 2020 estimates. In several high-income countries, the incidence became stable at relatively low levels around 2005. However, cervical cancer incidence increased in some countries in eastern Africa and eastern Europe.

Different patterns of age-specific incidence were seen between countries with well developed population-based screening and treatment services vs countries with insufficient and opportunistic services.

“Our critical appraisal of the data will provide timely evidence and impetus for future strategies aimed to prioritize national efforts and accelerate progress towards the WHO elimination targets and, in so doing, address the marked variations in the global cervical cancer incidence landscape,” the authors wrote.

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