Older women with cervical cancer face bleak outcomes

07 Dec 2021
Older women with cervical cancer face bleak outcomes

Cervical cancer stands out as a major concern for older women who are frequently undertreated and are at higher risk of death, a study reports.

Using data from a gynaecological cancer registry in a French Regional University Hospital and Comprehensive Cancer Center, researchers looked at 292 women diagnosed with cervical cancer. Of these, 228 were under 70 years of age and grouped in the younger category while 64 were aged ≥70 years and grouped in the older category.

Compared with younger women, those who were older were more likely to have comorbidities (score ≥2 on the Charlson Comorbidity Index: 14 percent vs 7 percent; p<0.001) and more advanced tumours (The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics [FIGO] IV: 37.3 percent vs 19.7 percent; p<0.001).

Furthermore, fewer older women received treatment (81.3 percent vs 95.6 percent; p<0.001) and had undergone surgery (37.5 percent vs 81.7 percent; p<0.001), although a larger proportion had had radiotherapy (67.2 percent vs 49.6 percent; p=0.01).

The respective 1-, 5- and 10-year overall survival rates were 91.6 percent, 74.1 percent, and 63.9 percent among younger women and 69.9 percent, 36.4 percent, and 12.3 percent among older women (p<0.001).

Older women with cervical cancer had a twofold higher risk of death than younger women (hazard ratio, 2.19, 95 percent CI, 1.41–3.40; p<0.001), independent of FIGO stage, histology, and comorbidities.

The findings suggest that age is a prognostic factor for cervical cancer. Screening with the G8 tool followed by a comprehensive geriatric assessment may help facilitate suitable treatment in older patients.

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