Although black women do not have the highest incidence rate of cervical cancer, their chances of dying from the disease remains twice as high as white women. They have the lowest survival rate of any other race when it comes to cervical cancer. Why?
It is known that human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a risk factor for cervical cancer. New research indicates that race may be a factor in women developing HPV that can lead to cervical cancer. Researchers are suggesting that black women may have a more difficult time getting rid of HPV infection, which would increase their risk factor for cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is a malignant neoplasm arising from cells originating in the cervix uteri. One of the most common symptoms of cervical cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding, but in some cases there may be no obvious symptoms until the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage. Treatment usually consists of surgery (including local excision) in early stages, and chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy in more advanced stages of the disease.
Women cannot change their biological makeup, but there are ways in which they can protect themselves. Here are just 5 ways:
#1. Regular checkups – black women in particular need to get regular Pap smears. Early detection is the best method of preventing cancer.
#2. No Smoking – avoiding smoking or being around secondhand smoke is important. Cigarette smoking increases your risk of developing cervical and other types of cancers.
#3. Use protection – using condoms will provide increased protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) which can increase your risk of developing cervical cancer.
#4. Get treatment for abnormal Pap smears – if your Pap test returns with abnormal results, it is important to seek ongoing medical treatment to ensure the condition does not develop into cervical cancer. Once an abnormal test result occurs, regular tests should be done as the condition may likely return.
#5. HPV vaccine – the HPV vaccine prevents high risk strains of HPV in women. It is designed for young women under the age of 27 and is most effective when administered before they become sexually active.