Sun. Feb 5th, 2023
Close-up of cancer cells in the cervix, the part of the uterus that attaches to the top of the vagina.
Enlarge / Close-up of cancer cells in the cervix, the part of the uterus that attaches to the top of the vagina.

Cervical cancer is 77 percent more deadly for black women and 44 percent more deadly for white women than previously thought, researchers report today in the journal Cancer.

But the deadly boosts aren’t from more women actually dying than before — they’re from scientists correcting their own math error. In the past, their estimates did not take into account women who had a hysterectomy – which almost always involved removal of the cervix, and therefore the risk of cervical cancer.

“We don’t include men in our calculation because they aren’t at risk for cervical cancer, and by the same yardstick, we shouldn’t include women who don’t have a cervix,” said Anne F. Rositch, the study’s lead author and told a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist. The New York Times.

For the study, the researchers looked at national data on cervical cancer mortality collected between 2000 and 2012. They also looked at national survey data on the prevalence of hysterectomies. They then used those numbers to adjust the number of women at risk of dying from cervical cancer.

The researchers found that black women have a death rate of 10.1 per 100,000. For white women, it’s 4.7 per 100,000. Previous estimates had those rates at 5.7 and 3.2, respectively. The new death rate for black women in the US is comparable to that in developing countries.

While the new study was not designed to address racial disparities, experts speculate that the stark difference reflects unequal access to preventive medicine and quality health care.

Cervical cancer is preventable. Most cases are caused by sexually transmitted infections with the human papillomavirus (HPV), for which there is a vaccine. And with recommended screening and monitoring, the development of cancer can be easily prevented.

For 2016, experts estimated that nearly 13,000 American women would be diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 4,000 would die from the disease.

Cancer2017. DOI: 10.1002/cncr.30507 (About DOIs).

By akfire1

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