• Reprint of "Cancer of the cervix: A sexually transmitted infection?".

    3 July 2018

    When mortality patterns for cancer of the uterine cervix were compared with trends in incidence of sexually transmitted diseases in both England and Wales and in Scotland, there were striking associations between the temporal, social class, occupational, and geographic distributions of these diseases. The data suggest that exposure to sexually transmitted infection is an important determinant of cervical cancer. Although they are still young, women born after 1940 are already experiencing increased cervical-cancer mortality. If cervical-cancer prevention and therapy remain unchanged, this generation's high risk of death from cervical cancer will probably continue to operate throughout their lives.

  • Tobacco smoking and all-cause mortality in a large Australian cohort study: findings from a mature epidemic with current low smoking prevalence.

    3 July 2018

    BACKGROUND: The smoking epidemic in Australia is characterised by historic levels of prolonged smoking, heavy smoking, very high levels of long-term cessation, and low current smoking prevalence, with 13% of adults reporting that they smoked daily in 2013. Large-scale quantitative evidence on the relationship of tobacco smoking to mortality in Australia is not available despite the potential to provide independent international evidence about the contemporary risks of smoking. METHODS: This is a prospective study of 204,953 individuals aged ≥45 years sampled from the general population of New South Wales, Australia, who joined the 45 and Up Study from 2006-2009, with linked questionnaire, hospitalisation, and mortality data to mid-2012 and with no history of cancer (other than melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer), heart disease, stroke, or thrombosis. Hazard ratios (described here as relative risks, RRs) for all-cause mortality among current and past smokers compared to never-smokers were estimated, adjusting for age, education, income, region of residence, alcohol, and body mass index. RESULTS: Overall, 5,593 deaths accrued during follow-up (874,120 person-years; mean: 4.26 years); 7.7% of participants were current smokers and 34.1% past smokers at baseline. Compared to never-smokers, the adjusted RR (95% CI) of mortality was 2.96 (2.69-3.25) in current smokers and was similar in men (2.82 (2.49-3.19)) and women (3.08 (2.63-3.60)) and according to birth cohort. Mortality RRs increased with increasing smoking intensity, with around two- and four-fold increases in mortality in current smokers of ≤14 (mean 10/day) and ≥25 cigarettes/day, respectively, compared to never-smokers. Among past smokers, mortality diminished gradually with increasing time since cessation and did not differ significantly from never-smokers in those quitting prior to age 45. Current smokers are estimated to die an average of 10 years earlier than non-smokers. CONCLUSIONS: In Australia, up to two-thirds of deaths in current smokers can be attributed to smoking. Cessation reduces mortality compared with continuing to smoke, with cessation earlier in life resulting in greater reductions.

  • Variations in vascular mortality trends, 2001-2010, among 1.3 million women with different lifestyle risk factors for the disease.

    3 July 2018

    AIMS: Vascular disease mortality has declined rapidly in most Western countries, against a background of improved treatments and falling prevalence of smoking, but rising obesity. We examined whether this decline differed by lifestyle risk factors for vascular disease. METHODS AND RESULTS: During 2001-2010, there were 9241 vascular disease deaths in a prospective study of 1.3 million women in middle age, about one-quarter of all UK women in the eligible age range (50-64 years in 1996-2001). We estimated percentage declines in mortality from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and other vascular diseases, overall and by age, smoking, alcohol consumption, adiposity, physical activity, socioeconomic status and age at leaving school. Over 10 years, coronary heart disease mortality fell by half (52%), cerebrovascular disease mortality by two-fifths (42%) and other vascular disease mortality by one-fifth (22%). Lean women experienced greater declines in coronary heart disease mortality than overweight or obese women (70%, 48% and 26%, respectively; P < 0.001 for heterogeneity) and women in the highest and middle thirds of socioeconomic status experienced greater declines in other (non-coronary, non-cerebrovascular) vascular disease mortality than women in the lowest third (41% and 42% and -9%, respectively; P = 0.001). After accounting for multiple testing, there were no other significant differences in vascular mortality trends by any lifestyle risk factor, including by smoking status. CONCLUSION: Vascular disease mortality trends varied in this cohort by adiposity and socioeconomic status, but not by smoking status or other lifestyle risk factors. Prevention and treatment of vascular disease appear not to have been equally effective in all subgroups of UK women.