Race- and Age-Related Disparities in Cervical Cancer Mortality

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  • 1 Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts;
  • | 2 Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Vincent Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts;
  • | 3 University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, Peoria, Illinois; and
  • | 4 Department of Radiation Oncology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and
  • | 5 Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.

Background: Although the incidence of cervical cancer among younger Black women is now equivalent to that of White women, it is unknown whether the reduced incidence has affected survival rates among younger Black women. The goal of this study was to assess differences in survival by age and race. Patients and Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed using the National Cancer Database to analyze women with nonmetastatic cervical cancer diagnosed between 2004 and 2014. Women with unknown survival data and those who died within 3 months of diagnosis were excluded. Multivariable logistic regression models evaluated interactions between age and race (Black vs non-Black) for presentation with stage I disease and receipt of optimal treatment. A multivariable Cox regression model was used to evaluate survival differences by age and race. Results: Of 55,659 women included, 16.4% were Black. Compared with their non-Black counterparts, fewer Black women presented with stage I disease (37.8% vs 47.8%; P<.01) and received optimal treatment (46.2% vs 58.3%; P<.01). Fewer Black women had private insurance if they were aged <65 years (39.6% vs 55.7%; P<.01), but not if they were aged ≥65 years (11.7% vs 12.4%; P=.43). According to multivariable logistic regression, Black women aged ≤39 years were less likely to present with stage I disease, with a significant interaction term between age and race (P<.01 for interaction). Disparities in overall survival by race were greatest for Black women aged ≤39 years (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.20–1.46; P<.01) but decreased with increasing age interval until no disparity was noted for women aged ≥65 years (P<.01 for interaction). Conclusions: Younger Black women with cervical cancer are at risk for presenting with higher-stage disease and having worse overall survival. These findings may be related to insurance-related disparities and inadequate follow-up for abnormal Papanicolaou test results. Younger Black women with cervical cancer may be a particularly vulnerable population.

Submitted June 11, 2020; final revision received September 28, 2020; accepted for publication September 29, 2020. Published online April 1, 2021.

Author contributions: Study concept: Alimena, Pachigolla, Feldman, Lee, King. Data curation: Yang, Orio, Lee, King. Formal analysis: Lee, King. Investigation: Alimena, Pachigolla, Lee, King. Methodology: Lee, King. Writing – original draft: Alimena, Pachigolla. Writing – review and editing: All authors.

Disclosures: The authors have disclosed that they have not received any financial considerations from any person or organization to support the preparation, analysis, results, or discussion of this article

Correspondence: Stephanie Alimena, MD, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115. Email: salimena@partners.org

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