Symptomatic presentation of cervical cancer in emergency departments in California

Frances B. Maguire, Julianne J.P. Cooley, Cyllene R. Morris, Arti Parikh-Patel, Vanessa A. Kennedy, Theresa H.M. Keegan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Through screening and HPV vaccination, cervical cancer can mostly be prevented or detected very early, before symptoms develop. However, cervical cancer persists, and many women are diagnosed at advanced stages. Little is known about the degree to which U.S. women may begin their diagnostic workup for cervical cancer in Emergency Departments (ED). We sought to quantify the proportion of women presenting symptomatically in the ED prior to their diagnosis with cervical cancer and to describe their characteristics and outcomes. Methods: We identified women diagnosed from 2006 to 2017 with cervical cancer in the California Cancer Registry. We linked this cohort to statewide ED discharge records to determine ED use and symptoms present at the encounter. Multivariable logistic regression models examined associations with ED use and multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models examined associations with survival. Results: Of the more than 16,000 women with cervical cancer in the study cohort, 28% presented symptomatically in the ED prior to diagnosis. Those presenting symptomatically were more likely to have public (odds ratio [OR] 1.16; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06–1.27) or no insurance (OR 4.81; CI 4.06–5.71) (vs. private), low socioeconomic status (SES) (OR 1.76; CI 1.52–2.04), late-stage disease (OR 5.29; CI 4.70–5.96), and had a 37% increased risk of death (CI 1.28–1.46). Conclusion: Nearly a third of women with cervical cancer presented symptomatically, outside of a primary care setting, suggesting that many women, especially those with low SES, may not be benefiting from screening or healthcare following abnormal results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1411-1421
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Cervical cancer
  • Emergency department
  • Population-based
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Symptomatic presentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Symptomatic presentation of cervical cancer in emergency departments in California'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this