Rate of Cervical Cancer may be higher than previously thought

New research suggests that African American women with cervical cancer may have a greater risk of death.

Previously, researchers found the disparity between white and African American women was narrowing.

However, old studies didn’t account for women who have had a hysterectomy in the past which eliminates the risk of cervical cancer.

Doctors attribute a higher rate in African American women to limited access to proper health care and regular pap smears.

“It has a lot more to do with insurance, having a clinic or something close by to home that’s easily accessible to get your routine pap smear done, because a lot of these women who are disenfranchised, for whatever reason it may be — no access to insurance, no health care — aren’t getting the appropriate screenings, and therefore being diagnosed with cancers at a much higher stage, when they’re not as easily treated,” said Lori Weinberg, M.D., a GYN oncologist at Gundersen.

Some doctors say removing funding for community health care centers like Planned Parenthood would further increase the rates of African American women dying of cervical cancer.