The average doctor may suggest that you get the typical Pap test once a year. However, recent studies suggest that cervical lesions may differ dramatically among different races, especially for Hispanic and African American women.
According to new research in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, physicians determining treatment options for abnormal Pap smears must now factor in the patient’s race.
The variation in precancerous cells found in the cervix that progress toward becoming cancerous or regress toward normal cells vary at high rates among Hispanic, African American, Caucasian, and Asian women.
Analyzing over 5,472 medical records of women who received a Pap test from January 2006 to September 2016, they found that Hispanic women progressed the fastest, moving from innocuous to worrisome high-grade lesions within 17.6 months. In comparison to African American women, it took 10 additional months to reach that same critical state. However, Hispanic women recovered faster too, regressing from high-grade to innocuous lesions in 28.1 months. On average, African American women took 49 months to regress back to the innocuous stage.
Strangely enough, progression and regression rates of precancerous lesions for Caucasian and Asian women fell somewhere in between, which in fact, reflects closely the expected patterns upon which current treatment guidelines are based upon and used in most health care and OB/GYN facilities.
“We see race-based differences that influence treatment protocols in all manner of health issues,” said Daniel Martingano, DO, an OB/GYN at New York University Langone Hospital – Brooklyn and lead author on this study. “Unfortunately, screening and treatment guidelines for precancerous lesions have not yet benefited from that additional layer of context. This study is the first step toward more precise and effective care.”
Dr. Martingano says his research may help physicians feel more confident in