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Cervical cancer mortality statistics

Mortality statistics for cervical cancer by country in the UK, age and trends over time are presented here. There are also data by geography. 

Find out more about the coding and counting of this data

By country in the UK

Among women in the UK, cervical cancer is the 17th most common cause of cancer death (2011), accounting for 1% of all female cancer deaths.

In 2011, there were 972 deaths from cervical cancer in the UK (Table 2.1).1-3 The crude mortality rate shows that there are 3 cervical cancer deaths for every 100,000 females in the UK.

The European age-standardised mortality rate (AS rate) is significantly higher in Scotland compared with England (Table 2.1).1-3 The rates do not differ significantly between the other constituent countries of the UK.

Table 2.1: Cervical Cancer (C53), Number of Deaths, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Mortality Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2011

England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland UK
Deaths 781 60 108 23 972
Crude Rate 2.9 3.8 4.0 2.5 3.0
AS Rate 2.2 2.9 3.1 2.1 2.4
AS Rate - 95% LCL 2.1 2.2 2.5 1.2 2.2
AS Rate - 95% UCL 2.4 3.7 3.7 3.0 2.5

Download this table XLS (32KB) PPT (133KB) PDF (190KB)

95% LCL and 95% UCL are the 95% lower and upper confidence limits around the AS Rate

The latest analysis of cervical cancer mortality rates throughout the UK reports only modest variation, with the highest rates being in parts of the north and the lowest in parts of the south.4,5 Statistical information and intelligence about cervical cancer in local areas across the UK and comparisons with the national average are also available using the local cancer statistics tool.

section reviewed 03/01/14
section updated 03/01/14

 

By age

Cervical cancer mortality is related to age, but as with incidence, the association with age is different to most cancer types. In the UK between 2009-2011, an average of 31% of cervical cancer deaths were in women aged 75 years and over, and almost three-quarters (73%) were in women aged 50 and over (Figure 2.1).1-3

Age-specific mortality rates rise gradually from around age 20-24, and then more sharply from aged 65-69, with the highest rates in the 85+ age group (Figure 2.1).1-3

Figure 2.1: Cervical Cancer (C54), Average Number of Deaths per Year and Age-Specific Mortality Rates, UK, 2009-2011

deaths_crude_cervix.swf

Download this chart XLS (54KB) PPT (134KB) PDF (255KB)

Around half (51%) of cervical cancer deaths occur in women aged 25-64, the age group currently offered cervical cancer screening in England. The cervical screening age group varies by country: women are invited for screening between the ages of 25-64 in Northern Ireland, 20-64 in Wales, and 20-60 in Scotland.6

section reviewed 03/01/14
section updated 03/01/14

 

Trends over time

Cervical cancer mortality rates have decreased overall in the UK since  the early 1970s (Figure 2.2).1-3 European AS mortality rates decreased by 71% between 1971-1973 and 2009-2011. Mortality rates fell steadily throughout the 1970s and 1980s (dropping by 22% between 1971-1973 and 1987-1989), probably due to improvements in hygiene and nutrition; a shift in childbearing patterns towards smaller family sizes, delayed childbearing and increased age at first birth, and a decline in sexually transmitted diseases.7 Mortality rates, like incidence rates, started to fall more rapidly after improvements to the national NHS screening programme in the late 1980s, decreasing by 43% between 1987-1989 and 1997-1999.7,8 It is estimated that cervical screening prevents around 5,000 deaths each year in the UK.8

Over the last decade (between 2000-2002 and 2009-2011), the European AS mortality rates have decreased by 25%.

Figure 2.2: Cervical Cancer (C54), European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, Females, UK, 1971-2011

mort_asr_uk_cervix.swf

Download this chart XLS (47KB) PPT (134KB) PDF (42KB)

Cervical cancer mortality rates have decreased overall for most of the older broad age groups in the UK since the early 1970s, but have remained stable in younger women (Figure 2.3).1-3 The largest decrease has been in women aged between 50 and 64, with European AS mortality rates decreasing by 80% between 1971-1973 and 2009-2011. Rates in 65-79 year-olds remained stable between the early 1970s and early 1980s, but have since decreased, and rates for women aged 25-34 and 35-49 increased between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, and have also since decreased. These trends are thought to be due to a rise in human papilloma virus (HPV) among women first sexually active around the time of the First and Second World Wars of the 1960s sexual revolution.7,8

Figure 2.3: Cervical Cancer (C54), European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, By Age, Females, UK, 1971-2011

mort_asr_age_cervix.swf

Download this chart XLS (64KB) PPT (139KB) PDF (46KB)

section reviewed 03/01/14
section updated 03/01/14

 

In Europe and worldwide

Cervical cancer is the 7th most common cause of cancer death in Europe for females, and the 15th most common cause of cancer death overall, with around 24,400 deaths from cervical cancer in 2012 (3% of female deaths and 1% of the total). In Europe (2012), the highest World age-standardised mortality rates for cervical cancer are in Romania; the lowest rates are in Iceland. UK cervical cancer mortality rates are estimated to be the 9th lowest in Europe.11 These data are broadly in line with Europe-specific data available elsewhere.12

Cervical cancer is the 4th most common cause of cancer death worldwide for females, and the 9th most common cause of cancer death overall, with more than 265,000 deaths from cervical cancer in 2012 (7% of female deaths and 3% of the total). Cervical cancer mortality rates are highest in Eastern Africa and lowest in Australia/New Zealand. This partly reflects varying data quality worldwide.11

Use our interactive map to explore the data for cervical cancer.

section reviewed 22/05/14
section updated 22/05/14

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References for cervical cancer mortality

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, March 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/all-releases.html?definition=tcm%3A77-27475.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, March 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/theme/vital-events/general/ref-tables/index.html.
  3. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.nisra.gov.uk/demography/default.asp22.htm.
  4. NCIN. Cancer Incidence and Mortality by Cancer Network, UK, 2005. London: NCIN; 2008.
  5. NCIN. Cancer e-Atlas. European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, UK (England: former Primary Care Trusts; Wales; Scotland: NHS Health Boards; Northern Ireland: Health and Social Care Trusts), 2009-2011.
  6. UK National Screening Committee. UK Screening Portal: Cervical screening across the UK. Accessed December 2013.
  7. Quinn M, Babb P, Brock A, et al. Cancer Trends in England & Wales 1950-1999. London: Office for National Statistics; 2001.
  8. Peto J, Gilham C, Fletcher O, et al. The cervical cancer epidemic that screening has prevented in the UK. Lancet 2004;364(9430):249-56.
  9. Levi F, Lucchini F, Negri E, et al. Cervical cancer mortality in young women in Europe: patterns and trends. European J of Cancer 2000; 36(17):2266-2271.
  10. Yang BH, Bray FI, Parkin DM, et al. Cervical cancer as a priority for prevention in different world regions: an evaluation using years of life lost. Cervical cancer as a priority for prevention in different world regions: an evaluation using years of life lost.
  11. Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed December 2013.
  12. Ferlay J, Steliarova-Foucher E, Lortet-Tieulent J, et al.Cancer incidence and mortality patterns in Europe: Estimates for 40 countries in 2012. European Journal of Cancer (2013) 49, 1374-1403.
Updated: 22 May 2014