A recent trend analysis indicates that cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates have remained stable or are dropping in most countries across the globe. These rates differ based on each country’s socioeconomic development level, cervical cancer screening use, and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates. The findings are published by Wiley online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Cervical cancer is a potentially preventable disease, through screening to detect and treat precancerous lesions and through vaccination against HPV. To reveal the most recent global patterns and trends of cervical cancer, a team led by Mingjuan Jin, PhD, of the Zhejiang University School of Medicine in China, examined information released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer pertaining to 31 countries.

The researchers found that cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates were lower in more socioeconomically developed countries. Also, both past and predicted trends appear to be stable or decreasing in most countries, especially in those with effective cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination programs.

Over the past 10 years, 12 countries had stable cervical cancer incidence rates, 14 had decreasing rates, and five had increasing rates. In terms of mortality from cervical cancer, 12 countries had stable rates, 18 had decreasing rates, and one had an increased rate.

In predictions over the next 15 years for 27 countries, most are expected to have stable or decreasing trends. Ten are predicted to have stable incidence rates, nine to have decreasing rates, and eight to have increasing rates. For mortality from cervical cancer, 16 are predicted to have stable rates, 10 to have decreasing rates, and one to have an increasing rate.

“Effective cervical cancer screening programs and HPV vaccination should be further popularized to increase their coverage and ultimately decrease cervical cancer’s short-, mid-, and long-term burden,” says Jin.