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BackgroundThe scarcity of country data (e.g. a cancer registry) for the burden of cervical cancer (CC) in low-income countries (LCIs) such as Swaziland remains a huge challenge. Such data are critical to inform local decision-making regarding resource allocation [1]. We aimed to estimate likely cervical cancer incidence in Swaziland using three different methodologies (triangulation), to help better inform local policy guidance regarding likely higher "true" burden and increased resource allocation required for treatment, cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccine implementation.MethodsThree methods were applied to estimate CC incidence, namely: 1) application of age-specific CC incidence rates for Southern African region from GLOBOCAN 2012 extrapolated to the 2014 Swaziland female population; 2) a linear regression based model with transformed age-standardised CC incidence against hr-HPV (with and without HIV as a covariate) prevalence among women with normal cervical cytology; and 3) a mathematical model, using a natural history approach based on parameter estimates from various available literature and local survey estimates. We then triangulated estimates and uncertainty from the three models to estimate the most likely CC incidence rate for Swaziland in 2015.ResultsThe projected incidence estimates for models 1-3 were 69.4 (95% CI: 66.7-72.1), 62.6 per 100,000 (95%CI: 53.7-71.8) and 44.6 per 100,000 (41.5 to 52.1) respectively. Model 2 with HIV prevalence as covariate estimated a higher CC incidence rate estimate of 101.1 per 100,000 (95%CI: 90.3-112.2). The triangulated ('averaged') age-standardized CC incidence based across the 3 models for 2015 was estimated at 69.4 per 100,000 (95% CI: 63.0-77.1) in Swaziland.ConclusionIt is widely accepted that cancer incidence (and in this case CC) is underestimated in settings with poor and lacking registry data. Our findings suggest that the projected burden of CC is higher than that suggested from other sources. Local health policy decisions and decision-makers need to re-assess resource allocation to prevent and treat CC effectively, which is likely to persist given the very high burden of hr-HPV within the country.

Original publication





BMC cancer

Publication Date





Discipline of Public Health, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus, 2nd Floor George Campbell Building, Mazisi Kunene Road, Durban, 4041, South Africa.


Humans, Papillomavirus Infections, Incidence, Prevalence, Models, Statistical, Models, Theoretical, Adolescent, Adult, Middle Aged, Uterine Cervical Neoplasms, Female, Young Adult, Eswatini