LISTEN: Dr. Jessica Shepherd on Why Cervical Cancer Is Killing Black Women

WHAT CAUSES CERVICAL CANCER?

Cervical cells can become abnormal and then if not addressed become cancerous. Also HPV, human papillomavirus, is the leading cause of cervical cancer, and if detected on a PAP smear should be addressed with your gynecologist

CAN IT BE PREVENTED?

Cervical cancer can be prevented by going to get your annual exam and PAP smears as recommended which can be from every year to every 5 years, depending on the results from the test and what your doctor recommends. Cervical cancer, which is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), can also be prevented by the HPV vaccine, which is offered to young people.

WHY ARE CERVICAL CANCER DEATH RATES HIGHER AMONG BLACK WOMEN?

Cervical cancer deaths are higher among Black women and especially older Black women. Studies were corrected for those women who had a hysterectomy, which is usually with removal of the cervix, showing a significant jump in numbers of deaths.

There are no clear answers why older and Black women are dying of cervical cancer at higher rates. Were they not properly screened? Was there no follow-up after an abnormal screening test? Was something missed during screening? Was treatment ineffective? Answering these questions are critical to identifying the most appropriate interventions that would lower these mortality rates.

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Source: Black America Web Get Well Wednesday