Office of Health Disparities Research

Addressing Health Disparities is Our Priority.

January 22, 2019

Cervical Cancer Screening Rates “Unacceptably Low” With Racial Disparities in Screening Rates as Well

By Sumedha Penheiter

A Mayo Clinic study examining the percentage of women, living in Olmsted county, screened for cervical cancer, shows that the number is ‘unacceptably low’ compared to the national average. Additionally, African-American women were only half as likely to be up-to-date on their screenings as white women across the board. Asian women were nearly 30 percent less likely to be current in their screenings than white women. The study was led by Mayo Clinic’s Kathy L. MacLaughlin, MD, and co-led by Robert M. Jacobson, MD, from the department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Cervical cancer rates have dropped dramatically in the past five decades, since physicians have had two screening tests available: the Pap test, which involves visually examining cells collected from the cervix for precancerous or cancerous cells, and the HPV test, which involves detecting the presence in the body of high risk human papillomavirus (HPV), which is known to cause precancerous changes and cervical cancer. But if women do not take advantage of screening, the benefits of early detection are lost. Dr. Robert Jacobson stated, “Routine screening every three years with a Pap test or every five years with a Pap-HPV co-test ensures precancerous changes are caught early and may be followed more closely or treated.” Dr. Jacobson was named Minnesota’s 2018 HPV is Cancer Prevention Champion. HPV vaccine is known to prevent cervical cancer in women and other cancers in men. The study team also included OHDR Steering Committee member Carmen Radecki Breitkopf, PhD, who has worked on assessing knowledge and perceptions of HPV and the HPV vaccine in underserved communities for several years. The CDC reports that around 13,000 American women are diagnosed with cervical cancer annual, and that about 4,200 women in the U.S. will die from the disease each year. ARTICLE

Tags: Mayo Clinic, Minnesota news, News, news

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