Higher prevalence of hysterectomy among rural women than urban women: Implications for measures of disparities in uterine and cervical cancers

J Rural Health. 2021 Jun 3. doi: 10.1111/jrh.12595. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Differences in hysterectomy prevalence by rural or urban residence could distort comparisons of rural-urban cervical and uterine cancer incidence. Using data from a large population-based survey, we sought to understand whether hysterectomy prevalence varies by rural or urban residence and whether the relationship between hysterectomy prevalence and rurality varies by race or ethnicity.

METHODS: Our analysis included 197,759 female respondents to the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, aged 20-79 years. We calculated population weighted proportions and 95% confidence intervals for hysterectomy prevalence, stratified by rural-urban residence and 5-year age groups. We also report estimates of hysterectomy prevalence by rural-urban residence for specific race and ethnic groups.

FINDINGS: Hysterectomy prevalence increased with age and was more common among rural women than urban women. The largest absolute difference occurred among women aged 45-49 years; 28.6% of rural women (95% CI: 25.1-32.2) and 16.6% of urban women (95% CI: 15.3-17.8) reported a hysterectomy. For hysterectomy prevalence by race and ethnicity, rural estimates were higher than urban estimates for the following groups of women: non-Hispanic Asian, non-Hispanic other race, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic White. Among Hispanic women and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native women, rural-urban differences in hysterectomy prevalence were not statistically different at the 95% confidence level.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that variation in hysterectomy prevalence, if not adjusted in the analysis, could produce distorted comparisons in measures of the relationship between rurality and uterine and cervical cancer rates. The magnitude of this confounding bias may vary by race and ethnicity.

PMID:34081371 | DOI:10.1111/jrh.12595