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Cervical Cancer Death Rates Shockingly Underestimated

Image: Cervical Cancer Death Rates Shockingly Underestimated

A vial of the HPV vaccine Gardasil. (AP Photo/Daily Free Press)

By    |   Tuesday, 24 Jan 2017 09:10 AM

Cervical cancer death rates have been shockingly underestimated in the United States, especially among older women and African-Americans, according to research led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The findings, published Monday in the science journal Cancer, found that African-American women were dying from cervical cancer at a rate 77 percent higher than previously thought while white women were dying at a rate 47 percent higher.

The Johns Hopkins study changed how cervical cancer mortality rates are calculated by excluding women who have had hysterectomies, a procedure that removes the cervix.

Researchers said by excluding those women, it gives a more accurate picture of women contracting cervical cancer and helps them better understand how to prevent it.

Before the study, the cervical cancer death rate for black women older than 20 was 5.7 per 100,000 each year and 3.2 percent for white women, according to HealthDay. When the study excluded those with hysterectomies, that rate jumped for African-American women to 10 per 100,000 and white women to 4.7.

The study also revealed that many of the women who are dying are older than 65, a cutoff point where guidelines no longer recommend women still with cervixes be regularly screened for cervical cancer.

"We can't tell from our study what might be contributing to the differences in cervical cancer mortality by age and race," Anne F. Rositch, the study's leader told CNN. "Now that we have a better understanding of the magnitude of the problem, we have to understand the reasons underlying the problem."

Dr. Marcela del Carmen, a gynecologic oncologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, told CNN she was concerned about the racial disparity the study revealed.

"Racial disparity may be explained by lack of access or limited access to cervical cancer screening programs among black women when compared to whites," said Carmen, who was not involved in the study's results.

"This gap and disparity need to be addressed with initiatives focusing on better access to prevention or screening programs, better access to HPV vaccination programs and improved access and adherence to standard of care treatment for cervical cancer."

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Cervical cancer death rates have been shockingly underestimated in the United States, especially among older women and African-Americans, according to research led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
cervical cancer, death rates, underestimated
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2017-10-24
Tuesday, 24 Jan 2017 09:10 AM
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