Cases of stage 4 cervical cancer are on the rise, researchers say: NPR


Researchers from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California, Los Angeles found an increase in cases of cervical cancer at stage 4. They suspect that young women are not undergoing routine medical checks because they appear to be healthy.

Suzi Pratt/Getty Images for Hologic


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Suzi Pratt/Getty Images for Hologic


Researchers from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California, Los Angeles found an increase in cases of cervical cancer at stage 4. They suspect that young women are not undergoing routine medical checks because they appear to be healthy.

Suzi Pratt/Getty Images for Hologic

Late-stage cervical cancer cases are on the rise in the U.S., a new study finds, and some researchers hypothesize that a decline in screening among young women could be why more women are being diagnosed with the disease. the deadly disease.

While the overall rate of cervical cancer in the United States is declining, the number of women suffering from advanced stages of the disease, which has a five-year survival rate of 17%, is increasing.

Researchers from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California, Los Angeles set out to investigate trends in stage 4 cervical cancer in the country by analyzing data from 2001 to 2018. In a study published Thursday in the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, found a 1.3% annual increase in advanced disease, with the largest increase among Southern white women aged 40 to 44, among whom cases increased by 4.5% annually .

The researchers also found that black women have a higher overall rate of late-stage cervical cancer, 1.55 per 100,000, compared with 0.92 per 100,000 in white women.

Dr. Alex Francoeur, a fourth-year OB-GYN resident at UCLA, said the team’s recent study grew out of a study published last year, which found an annual increase of 3 .39% in advanced cases among women aged 30 to 34.

“This is a disease that only 17% of patients will live past five years,” said Francoeur. “So if you’re a 30-year-old man who’s not going to live past 35, that’s tragic.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that women start getting Pap tests at age 21 and get a follow-up every three years, depending on their health history. Test screens for pre-cancers, which if detected, can be surgically removed. Cervical cancer detected early enough can have a five-year survival rate of more than 90%.

Women should also be routinely tested for human papillomavirus (HPV), according to National Cancer Institute guidelines. The virus is linked to more than 90% of all anal and cervical cancers, as well as a high percentage of other cancers.

Francoeur said she suspects many women put off routine tests because they don’t have any obvious health problems. But HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease, according to the CDC, so common that most sexually active people will contract the virus at some point in their lives.

Another concern is that the most recent numbers are from 2018, Francoeur said, which does not include the COVID-19 pandemic, during which routine health care for many was put on hold.

“I’m concerned that the last couple of years people have had a lot of barriers to accessing health care,” he said. “I think we might see this trend get a little worse before it gets better.”

Francoeur recommended that “even if you’re in your 20s and 30s and don’t have any medical problems, you need a primary care doctor, because routine health exams save lives.”

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