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Why Black women need to be screened for cervical cancer

While all women can develop cervical cancer, Black women are more likely to be diagnosed and die of cervical cancer, compared to white women in the U.S., says
Olivia Cardenas-Trowers, MD, a Mayo Clinic urogynecologist (above).

This disparity is not due to genetic differences among white, Black or Hispanic women, but rather related to systemic racism, access to health care and socioeconomic factors, she says. That is why she encourages women to learn more about this often-avoidable cancer and get screened, usually starting at 21 for average-risk women.

“Cervical cancer is diagnosed with tissue sampling, so like with a biopsy, but abnormal cells can be picked up with a screening exam like a Pap smear, which can lead to being able to diagnose cervical cancer.”

Early stage cervical cancer may produce no distinct symptoms, making these regular screenings lifesaving. It’s really in later-stage cervical cancer, where you can see things like abnormal vaginal bleeding and pain, in general or with intercourse.”

See “Why Black women need to be screened for cervical cancer” by Deb Balzer on the Medical Xpress website (January 20, 2021)

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