Cervical cancer death rates are much higher now because previous calculations didn’t account for women who had their cervix removed in hysterectomies.
A new study collected data between 2000 and 2012, and found the death rate for white women is 47 percent higher than previously thought! Sadly, the number drastically rises for African American women; the death rate for them is 77 percent higher than calculated before.
Why is the cancer rate higher for African American Women?
Many women who get cancer often don’t have access to screening. This could be because of racial disparity, with not enough African American women having access or having limited access to cervical cancer screening programs. This is a wake-up call because cervical cancer is highly preventable especially here in the United States. When it’s found early, it’s usually treatable with high survival rates.
What can be done to prevent cervical cancer?
Having long-lasting infections with HPV or the human papillomavirus is the main cause for the majority of cervical cancer cases. To help prevent cervical cancer, here are my prescriptions:
1. Start getting screened for cervical cancer at age 21. It’s called a pap test – and get it done every three years.
2. At age 30, get the pap test and a HPV test every 5 years.
3. Girls between 9 and 26 should get the HPV vaccination. It’s best if they get this before they become sexually active.
4. HPV is a sexually-transmitted virus so keep yourself safe by using a condom.
5. Don’t smoke or quit. Smoking can cause cancer and then can block your body from fighting it.
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
Early-stage cervical cancer often gives no signs or symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get the pap test done regularly. If you have more-advanced cervical cancer, you may have vaginal bleeding following intercourse, between periods or after menopause. You can also have pain during intercourse, and bloody vaginal discharge with a foul odor.