Medical News

CDC Study Finds Higher Cervical Cancer Rates Among Hispanic Women and Women Over 50

December 4, 2002

This article is part of The Body PRO's archive. Because it contains information that may no longer be accurate, this article should only be considered a historical document.

Hispanic women contract cervical cancer almost twice as often as other women, indicating that not enough of them are having Pap tests, according to a CDC study. The report, "Invasive Cervical Cancer Among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Women," was published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2002;51(47):1067-1070). The study also found that older women of all ethnic groups were more likely to show advanced cases of the disease when first diagnosed. These women sometimes lack easy access to screening tests because of their age, low education, low income and lack of health insurance, the CDC's Dr. Sidibe Kassim said.

The CDC study analyzed 14,759 new invasive cervical cancer cases between 1992 and 1999. The disease was found at a rate of 16.9 per 100,000 Hispanic women 30 and older, compared with 8.9 per 100,000 non-Hispanic women. Forty percent of the patients were diagnosed with advanced cases of the disease; among women 50 or older, the rate rose to 52 percent.

The CDC noted the high rates came in the face of a 50 percent drop in cervical cancer cases among all American women in the last three decades. Better cervical cancer education, screening and treatment led to that decline, Kassim said.

"What's critical for people to realize is for many cervical cancers, it takes years for an early cancer to become established as an invasive or potentially fatal case," said Dr. William Golden, a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences professor, who was not involved in the study.

The CDC estimates that 13,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed this year, and about 4,100 women will die from the disease. The Pap test identifies precancerous lesions and leads to early treatment. Screening programs for cervical cancer exist in each state, but some women may not realize they need to be tested, Kassim said. The tests are recommended every three years for women who are sexually active. Cervical cancer is virtually always caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus.

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Adapted from:
Associated Press
11.28.02; Daniel Yee

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.


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