As we close out Black History Month 2021, we want to share some facts and stories about Cervical Cancer in Black communities.
1. Cervical Cancer impacts more Black and Hispanic women. Worldwide, Cervical Cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women. According to the CDC, around 2,000 new cases of HPV-associated cervical cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year. Within these 2,000 new cases, a disproportionate number of them are Black and Hispanic women.
2. Survival rate is lower for Black women. African American women tend to have lower 5-year survival rates and die more often than any other race. (1)
Dr. Anisa Shomo cites the following three reasons of why Black women often die faster than others once diagnosed:
Tend to be diagnosed at a later stage
Choose or receive less aggressive treatment
Experience more barriers to care once diagnosed
The median age of cervical cancer diagnosis is 51 years for black women compared 48 years of age for white women. Those three crucial years can mean the difference between a treatable cancer, and one that is terminal. (2)
3. Cervical cancer screening and education needs to be more readily available in Black communities. According to WHO, Cervical Cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, as long as it is detected early and managed effectively. Unfortunately for women who live in areas that lack access to medical care or lack resources for affordable healthcare, it is more likely they will go years without screening and early detection of cervical cancer.
In a study in Alabama, women listed the following as reasons for not being screened for cervical cancer:
There is a lack of access to public transportation, and having to travel long distances
There is a lack of access to information on cervical cancer
Historical memory and harmful social norms can make it difficult to connect some women to care
There is a lack of primary care providers who can perform cervical cancer screenings, or availability of specialists for urgent follow-on care
According to the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), “deaths from cervical cancers could be avoided if cancer screening rates increased among women at risk.”
Find out if you are eligible for free or low cost screenings through the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.
At GWHT, we are continually working to provide access to cervical cancer screening through innovative technology and education. A study by the Human Rights Watch states, “access to sexual and reproductive health information and comprehensive sexual health education can give women and girls the tools necessary to make informed decisions about decreasing cervical cancer risk.”
In 2021 we are starting an educational effort to provide a robust education on reproductive and sexual health. Subscribe to our blog to follow along with our next series, which will address topics ranging from anatomy, common reproductive health issues, HPV and more!
We are hopeful that through educational initiatives, we can bring awareness to the ways that cervical cancer can be prevented. If you are interested in having a Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Presentation for your group, fill out this form!