Cervical Cancer Rates May Be Rising in Low-Income U.S. Counties

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The incidence and mortality of cervical cancer may be rising in patients residing in low-income areas of the United States, according to a recent study published by Amboree et al in the International Journal of Cancer.

Study Methods and Results

In the recent study, investigators used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–22 program data to examine the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer between 2000 and 2019. They also analyzed race, ethnicity, and county-level median household income—which ranged from $19,330 to $38,820 in low-income counties.

The investigators discovered that since 2007, the incidence rate of distant-stage cervical cancer increased by 4.4% per year among White patients residing in low-income counties. Although the incidence rate of cervical cancer decreased among Black patients residing in low-income counties, the cervical cancer mortality rates increased the most: by 2.9% per year since 2013.

In 2019, the incidence of cervical cancer across all racial and ethnic groups was greater among the patients residing in low-income counties. The highest absolute incidence was observed among Hispanic patients.


“The findings are quite concerning,” emphasized lead study author Trisha Amboree, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Behavioral Science at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Despite decades of improvement due to the widespread implementation of cervical cancer prevention programs in the [United States], our study shows women may be facing disruptions along the screening and treatment continuum that are leading to more distant-stage cancers and, potentially, more deaths,” she added.

"These data add to a growing body of evidence indicating widening disparities driven by socioeconomic status,” underscored co–senior study author Jane Montealegre, PhD, Associate Professor of Behavioral Science at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable through vaccination against human papillomavirus, screening, and early detection. This continued upward trend calls for scaled-up efforts to eliminate disparities in cervical cancer prevention,” she concluded.

Disclosure: The research in this study was supported through grants from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and the National Cancer Institute. For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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