Racial gap found in cervical cancer deaths

A new study says the death rate from Cervical cancer is significantly higher among U.S. blacks than for white women

The medical journal Cancer on Monday published the finding that the rate black American women are dying from the disease is akin to that of women in many poor developing nations.


Cervical cancer cells. (Courtesy Creative Commons)

Experts say what is especially disturbing is that cervical cancer is largely preventable through screenings.

“This shows that our disparities are even worse than we feared,” said Dr. Kathleen M. Schmeler, an associate professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

“We have screenings that are great, but many women in America are not getting them.”

Schmeler, speaking to the New York Times, said President  Donald Trump’s  plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act could make matters worse because it covers screening and may result in the closing of family planning clinics, which performs the test.

The mortality rate for black women was 10.1 per 100,000. For white women, it is 4.7 per 100,000, according to the study.

Some doctors said the disparity could reflect unequal access to screening and insurance coverage.

Cervical cancer is caused, in most cases, by the virus called human papillomavirus, or HPV. It can be transmitted through sexual contact. There is a vaccine for women 26 years and younger.