• carcinoma of the uterine cervix;
  • incidence;
  • mode of presentation;
  • adenocarcinoma;
  • squamous cell carcinoma;
  • cervical screening

Adenocarcinoma of the uterine cervix compared with squamous cell carcinoma: a 12-year study in Southampton and South-west Hampshire

In a 12-year study of the population of Southampton and South-west Hampshire (SSWH), there was no rise or fall in the incidence of adenocarcinoma of the uterine cervix, although the incidence of squamous cell carcinoma fell from 14 to 7.2 per 100 000 women years and the overall fall in age-adjusted incidence of cervical carcinoma was commensurate with that of England and Wales. The majority (59%) of adenocarcinomas were seen in women aged less than 50, supporting the concept of a higher risk in young women. Screen-detected carcinomas accounted for 50% of adenocarcinomas and 41% of squamous cell carcinomas in women aged 20–64 (the difference was not significant). There were more screen-detected adenocarcinomas of less than 3 mm depth of invasion and 7 mm lateral extension during the third period of the study (1991–1993). The results are consistent with reports of an increased risk of cervical cancer in women born since 1940, and lesser effectiveness of screening in preventing adenocarcinoma compared with squamous cell carcinoma. High prevalence of early screen-detected carcinomas may have been a factor in recent reports of increased incidence of adenocarcinoma.