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3. Cervical cancer epidemiology and aetiology of cervical carcinoma

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According to the GLOBOSCAN figures for 2012 published by the International Agency for Research into Cancer (IARC) for the World Health Organisation (WHO 2012), carcinoma of the uterine cervix was the third commonest form of cancer recorded in women worldwide and the fourth in terms of cancer deaths (Figure 3.1). Most of the morbidity (women with the disease) and mortality (women who die from the disease) is seen in countries with a poor socio-economic standing, no structured health service and no organised cervical screening programme.  According to the WHO approximately 70% of all cases are found in low to middle income countries. Worldwide, there were 528,000 new cases of cervical cancer and 266,00 deaths in 2012 (WHO 2012).

The average figures represent a wide variation in incidence and mortality worldwide and within Europe (Figure 3.1 and Ferlay et al. 2013).  

Variation of incidence and mortality within Europe

  • Average age standardized incidence and mortality as a whole: 13.4 and 4.9 per 100,000 women respectively
  • Range is between 34.9 and 14.2 respectively in Romania and 4.2 and 1.6 in Switzerland  
Figure 3.1 Cancer incidence and mortality worldwide in 2012 [WHO] 
Figure 3.2 Incidence and mortality across Europe (EUCAN)