Objective This study aimed to assess the temporal trends in invasive cervical cancer (ICC) incidence rates among 21–25 year-olds. US guidelines no longer recommend screening prior to age 21, and concerns have been raised that delayed screening initiation may increase ICC incidence among young women. Methods This study utilized ICC incidence data from 18 US population-based cancer registries in SEER from 2000 to 2013 and Pap test prevalence data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from 1996 to 2012. Trends were evaluated with annual percent changes (APCs) using Joinpoint regression. Results The prevalence of never having a Pap test before age 21 increased from 22.0% in 1996–2004 to 38.3% in 2006–2012 (APC = + 5.48, 95%CI = + 4.20, + 7.50). Despite this decline in screening, ICC incidence among 21–23 year olds significantly declined between 2000 and 13 (APC = − 5.36, 95%CI = − 7.83,− 2.82), particularly from 2006 to 2013 (APC = − 9.70, 95%CI = − 15.79, − 3.17). ICC incidence remained constant among 24–25 year olds (APC = + 0.45, 95%CI = − 2.00, 2.97). Compared to women born in 1978–1985, women born in 1986–1991 had a higher prevalence of never receiving a Pap test prior to 21 (35.4% vs. 22.1%, p < 0.001), but a lower ICC incidence at 21–23 (0.98 vs. 1.55 per 100,000, p < 0.001). Conclusion While US females born in 1986–1991 were less likely to receive a Pap test before age 21, diagnoses of ICC in the early 20s were rare and lower than for those born in earlier years. This provides reassurance that the updated guidelines to delay screening until 21 has not resulted in a population-level increase in ICC rates among young women.
- Cervical cancer
- Pap test