Cervical cancer kills more women in the U.S. than health experts have previously believed, according to a new study.
Researchers have found that the rate of death from cervical cancer is much higher than what has been reported, particularly among black women.
The mortality rate for black women was 10.1 per 100,000, compared to 4.7 per 100,000 for white women, according to the study published Monday in the journal Cancer. The rate for black women who are 85 and over was even higher, at 37.2 deaths per 100,000, the study found. Previous estimates put the death rate of cervical cancer at 5.7 per 100,000 black women and 3.2 per 100,000 white women.
“This shows that our disparities are even worse than we feared,” Dr. Kathleen Schmeler, an associate professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, told the New York Times. “We have screenings that are great, but many women in America are not getting them.”
The corrected rates come after researchers reevaluated the figures, keeping in mind women involved who have had hysterectomies — operations to remove the cervix.
Cervical cancer is highly preventable with vaccinations to prevent the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the most common cause of cervical cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cervical cancer is also treatable when diagnosed early from screening tests.