The rate of cervical cancer varies among different geographical areas in Southeast England according to a new study published today in the open access journal BMC Public Health. The study shows that the occurrence of cervical cancer is increased in more deprived areas.
Dr Laura Currin and her colleagues at the Thames Cancer Registry of King's College London analyzed data on 2,231 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed between 2001 and 2005 in London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex. "Our goal was to examine cervical cancer occurrences in different areas, to investigate a potential link of cervical cancer to smoking prevalence, teen conception rates and cancer screening and establish if social deprivation remains a factor influencing disease burden. Understanding the factors contributing to an increased incidence will allow future intervention programmes to more effectively target those who carry an increased risk for the disease", Dr Currin says.
The research showed that the incidence rate of cervical cancer varied among the geographical areas of Southeast England - with some areas having rates that were three times higher than neighbouring areas. The highest rates occurred within London. Higher rates of the disease were found in areas characterised by high deprivation, smoking prevalence, and teenage conception rates. This work suggests that to minimise inequality in cervical cancer, public health interventions must target deprived areas. Within those areas there is likely to be further benefit in targeting women identified to have elevated risk.
Dr Currin states "The areas of high and low incidence are geographically close, and rates varied dramatically within a region. Knowledge of local hot spots, along with an awareness that some groups of patients are more likely to develop this disease, may help health professionals improve prevention efforts to reduce the excess morbidity and mortality of cervical cancer."
Notes to Editors
1. Inequalities in the incidence of cervical cancer in South East England 2001-2005: an investigation of population risk factors
Laura G Currin, Ruth H Jack, Karen M Linklater, Vivian Mak, Henrik Moller and Elizabeth A Davies
BMC Public Health (in press)
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2. There are well over 2,000 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed each year in the UK (2006 Figures - 2,321 in UK and 398 in South East England)
3. The Thames Cancer Registry at King's College London is one of 12 population-based cancer registries in the UK. Cancer registries have responsibility for collecting data on the numbers of new cases in their resident populations and for reporting figures on the incidence, mortality and survival for different cancers. Data on new cases is received from hospitals and information on deaths is received from the Office for National Statistics via the NHS Central Register. The Thames Cancer Registry is the largest registry in the UK and covers the 12 million population living in London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex
4. Also available for comment is Dr Kathie Binysh, Director of Quality Assurance, London Cancer Screening Programmes on +44 (0) 7957208509 / firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr Linda Garvican of the Sussex Cancer Network on email@example.com.
In addition, Professor Julietta Patnick, Director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, has prepared a statement in response to this research, "We are currently working hard to reach all women across the country, including those from more deprived areas, with the message that cervical screening saves lives. We want to help women who are eligible for screening to make informed choices and provide them with the reassurance they need to make the right decisions for themselves."
To contact the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes email Press.firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +44 (0)20 7400 4499.
5. BMC Public Health is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in all aspects of epidemiology and public health medicine. BMC Public Health (ISSN 1471-2458) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, CAS, Scopus, EMBASE, Thomson Scientific (ISI) and Google Scholar.
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7. King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher Education 2008) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has 19,700 students from more than 150 countries, and 5,400 employees. An investment of over £500 million has been made in the redevelopment of its estate in recent years. King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of approximately £450 million.