STUDY: Cervical Cancer Death Risk Is Highest Among Older & Black Women

The number of women who die from cervical cancer in the United States may be higher than previously believed, and the risk is greatest among older and black women, a new study finds.

“This is a preventable disease and women should not be getting it, let alone dying from it,” study leader Anne Rositch, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in a Hopkins news release.

Due to big advances in early detection, such as the Pap test, it’s long been thought that cervical cancer had made a big retreat in the United States.

But the researchers note that prior estimates of cervical cancer death had included women who’d already had a hysterectomy — which can include removal of the uterus and cervix. One in five women in the United States has had a hysterectomy, according to the researchers.

Preventive screening such as the Pap test looks for signs of malignancy or pre-malignancy in the cervix, so it is only useful in reducing deaths from cervical cancer in women who have not undergone a hysterectomy, the researchers explained.