, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 205-213

Decreasing rates of cervical cancer among American Indians and Hispanics in New Mexico (United States)

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Minority women in New Mexico (United States)—including American Indian and Hispanic women—have shown disproportionately high incidence rates of invasive cervical cancer during the 1960s and 1970s. Several public health programs in New Mexico were directed toward early detection of cervical cellular abnormalities, particularly targeting the state's minority women. To evaluate the effectiveness of these programs, we examined the New Mexico Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data collected from 1969–92, and calculated average annual, age-specific, and age-adjusted incidence rates by ethnic group (American Indian, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic White) for five-year time intervals. We also calculated age-adjusted mortality rates for cervical cancer in the same ethnic groups using state vital records. Age-adjusted incidence rates for invasive cervical cancer show substantial temporal decreases, especially for minority women in the state. The age-adjusted incidence rate decreased by 66 percent, from 30.3 to 10.3 per 100,000 for American Indian women, and by 61 percent, from 26.1 to 10.2 per 100,000 for Hispanic women. A stage shift to earlier stages of cervical neoplasia occurred over the study period, with a substantially higher proportion of in situ compared with invasive cancers diagnosed in the most recent cf the most remote time period. The ratio of incidence rates of in situ to invasive cancers changed dramatically for both American Indian and Hispanic women. Cervical cancer mortality rates decreased steadily among Hispanic women from 1958 to 1992; the decrease among American Indian women was less stable and fluctuated due to small numbers. Ongoing targeted sceening programs should help to reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality further in New Mexico.

Drs Chao, Becker, Jordan, Darling, Gilliland, and Key are with the New Mexico Tumor Registry/Epidemiology and Cancer Control Program, Albuquerque, NM, USA. Dr Jordan and also Dr Key are with the Department of Pathology, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, NM. Address correspondence to Dr Chao, New Mexico Tumor Registry, University of New Mexico Cancer Research and Treatment Center, 900 Camino de Salud NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87131-5306, USA.