The population-based cancer registry data on patients with cervical cancer in Finland and South Wales in 1960--69 were analysed for survival. Patients with carcinoma-in-situ experienced essentially the normal life expectancy. Those with invasive carcinoma experienced 75% of normal post-registration life expectancy in Finland but only 45% in South Wales. The difference was due to higher frequency and to better survival of patients with localised carcinoma in Finland, which was attributed to the fact that in Wales the mean age of the population is higher than that in Finland, and also to the longer delya in Wales from first symptoms to diagnosis among women with localised cancer. The differences in mean age by clinical stage and in survival combined with the duration of symptoms support the hypothesis that speed of tumour growth is a major determinant of clinical stage at diagnosis.
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