New Study Shows That Black Women’s Risk of Death From Cervical Cancer is 77% Higher Than Previously Thought.

Black Women Scientist

A new study reveals the racial gap in cervical cancer deaths to be even wider than previously determined.

According to findings published in the journal, Cancer, black women are dying from cervical cancer at a rate 77% higher than previously determined, and white women are dying at a rate 47% higher. Prior to this study, the disparity in cervical cancer deaths between black and white women had been underestimated by 44 percent.

Contemporary figures regarding the magnitude of cervical cancer comes from over 12 years of study and data collected from 2000-2012. Earlier studies on the scope of the disease did not include women who have had their cervixes removed with hysterectomies. This most recent data includes women who have had hysterectomies, resulting in a much greater racial disparity.

Poverty and access to preventative care remains a major factor.

According to the New York Times,

Although this study looked at the divide between black and white women, Dr. Schmeler said that it implicitly raised alarms for other poor women of color. Along border towns in Texas, with an overwhelmingly poor, Hispanic population, she said that rates of incidence and death from cervical cancer were considerably higher than national figures.

While the HPV vaccine is cited as a preventative option, last year it was revealed that the vaccine may actually be less effective for black women.

While researchers work to find more preventative options, access to healthcare for all women is the first major step in fighting cervical cancer.