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Cervical cancer rates in NYC highest in poorest neighborhoods

Women living in New York City neighborhoods with the lowest socioeconomic status (SES) had a 73 percent greater chance of being diagnosed with cervical cancer than women living in neighborhoods with the highest SES, according to research.

Stephanie Cham, MD (above) of the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center and colleagues analyzed data collected from New York City residents between 2012 and 2016. The databases included 932 cases of cervical cancer across 55 neighborhoods — a rate of about 9 cases per 100,000 women.

However, the incidence of the disease varied greatly among neighborhoods; those in the top 10 percent for SES status experienced rates of around 4 cases per 100,000 women, while those in the lowest 10 percent for SES status peaked at almost 15 cases per 100,000 women. 

Racial distribution also varied across neighborhoods: nearly 70 percent of the population was white in neighborhoods with the highest SES, compared to only 3 percent in the neighborhoods with the lowest SES. Conversely, 60 percent of the population was Hispanic, and 33 percent was Black in the lowest SES neighborhoods. In the highest SES neighborhoods, less than 12 percent of residents were Hispanic and less than 5 percent were Black.

Cham noted their research does not pinpoint why SES seems to correlate with rates of cervical cancer, but she suspects lower SES areas may exhibit lower rates of HPV vaccinations as well as reduced access to preventative health care.

See “Cervical cancer rates for women highest in New York City’s lowest socioeconomic neighborhoods” on the EurekAlert! website (November 24, 2021)

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