Cervical Cancer Disparities in the United States

Unveiling Cervical Cancer: Bridging the Gap in Racial Disparities

Globally, cervical cancer is a significant public health concern. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is the fourth most common cancer among women, with an estimated 604,000 new cases and 342,000 deaths reported in 2020. However, this burden is not felt equally.

Despite advances in medical science, cervical cancer continues to display alarming racial disparities, disproportionately impacting certain communities.

Facts and Disparities

Racial disparities exist in cervical cancer incidence, mortality rates, and access to preventive measures. African American, Latina, and Native American women, among other minority groups, face a higher risk of developing cervical cancer and are more likely to experience poorer outcomes.

Higher Incidence Rates

Studies consistently show that cervical cancer incidence rates are higher among minority populations.

Hispanic women are 40 percent more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white women, and Black women are 18 percent more likely to be diagnosed.

Factors such as socioeconomic status, education, and limited access to healthcare contribute to delayed screenings and diagnosis, resulting in advanced stages of the disease.

Mortality Disparities

Mortality rates from cervical cancer are disproportionately higher among women of color.

According to the American Cancer Society, Black women have a 52% greater chance of dying of cervical cancer compared with their white counterparts, and Hispanic women are 30 percent more likely.

This can be attributed to a combination of factors, including late-stage diagnosis, limited access to treatment, and systemic issues within the healthcare system.

Barriers to Preventive Measures

According to the Office of Minority Health, Black women are 10 percent less likely to have received a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as white counterparts.

Access to preventive measures, such as HPV vaccination and regular screenings, is hindered by various barriers in minority communities.

These barriers include cultural stigmas, lack of awareness, and disparities in healthcare infrastructure.

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National Minority Quality Forum is a research and educational organization dedicated to ensuring that high-risk racial and ethnic populations and communities receive optimal health care. This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization integrates data and expertise in support of initiatives to eliminate health disparities.

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