Late-stage cervical cancer is on the rise among white and black women in the United States, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology believe one of the factors leading to the rising cases is that younger women are receiving fewer screenings. Although the cancer type is declining in the U.S. overall, a growing number of white and black women are suffering from the deadly disease, according to a study published in the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer.
The researchers conducted the study by analyzing data of over 29,000 women from 2001 to 2018 and found a 1.3% annual increase in advanced cervical cancer. White women located in the South between the ages 40 and 44 had the highest increase at a rate of 4.5% annually. White females had an overall annual increase of 1.69%.
The second-highest yearly increase was found in black women at 0.67%. However, the disease was found to be greater in black women, with 1.55 per 100,000 Black women being diagnosed with cervical cancer against 0.92 per 100,000 women, according to the study.
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Advanced stages of this cancer can be very deadly if left untreated or undetected for a prolonged period. Stage 4 cervical cancer has a five-year survival rate of 17%.
Dr. Alex Francoeur, an OBGYN resident at UCLA and the study’s author, hypothesizes that the increase in the disease may be correlated to women who do not get an HPV vaccination.
“In previous research, we saw a steeper decline in cervical cancer in women who would have been eligible for the vaccine, indicating a possible association between the vaccine and cervical cancer rate,” said Francoeur in a statement to UPI.
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“We feel confident that HPV vaccination is overall decreasing total cervical cancer incidence in the U.S.,”she added. “I think we need to further investigate how to screen our underinsured, rural and minority populations, and continue to educate people on the importance of vaccination.”
The American Cancer Society recommends that screenings for cervical cancer should take place every five years between the age of 25 and 65.
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