Cervical Cancer Killing Women At Higher Rate, Study Shows
Jan 25, 2017 09:26 AM EST
Women's risk of dying from cervical cancer may be much greater than what medical professionals previously thought, according to a new study. Researchers found that black women in the United States are dying from cervical cancer at a rate of 77 percent while white women at a rate of 47 percent. The values shown are actually higher than originally found.
The study was published in the journal Cancer on Monday and was conducted by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers. It marked a turn on how cervical cancer mortality rates have been calculated in the past. During the study, they excluded women who have had their cervixes removed through hysterectomies since it would guarantee zero chance of developing cervical cancer. One professor claimed that the goal of a screening program is to ultimately reduce mortality from cervical cancer and in order to get accurate results, it must be conducted to women with a cervix.
The American Cancer Society provided statistical data for cervical cancer in the United States for 2017. According to their study, about 12,820 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed and about 4,210 women will die from it. Cervical cancer was once the most common causes of cancer death among American women. It tends to occur in midlife with most cases found in women younger than 50 and more than 15 percent of cases of cervical cancer are found in women over 65.
However, the study showed that cervical cancer rarely occurs in women who have been getting regular tests to screen for this cancer before they were 65. In fact, increased use of the Pap smear was one of the main reason why over the last 40 years the cervical cancer death rate went down. The screening procedure can find changes in the cervix before cancer develops. It can also find cervical cancer early and in its most curable stage.
According to Anne F. Rositch, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School, while the study conducted helps understand that black and older women are getting cervical cancer more, it doesn't necessarily explain why they are dying at higher rates. Researchers stressed the importance of bringing back increased education, outreach, and support to ensure that HPV infections and precancerous cervical lesions are identified and treated early.