Women of color are at greater risk for cancers caused by HPV, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published on its website in May.
HPV cancers affect around 17,600 women annually, and affect women of color more often than white, non-Hispanic women, researchers stated in the study.
About 4,000 women die from cervical cancer each year. Of those women, three times more black women die compared to white women in the same age group.
The report stated that women of color are diagnosed with cervical cancer at a later age as compared to white women, with 48% of black women diagnosed at an early stage of invasive cervical cancer compared to 56% of white women.
Black women are more likely to die from cervical cancer than women of other races or ethnicities, the report showed.
Women of Hispanic origin top the list for highest rates of vaginal cancer caused by HPV. For every 100,000 women living in the U.S., about 11 Hispanics are diagnosed compared to seven non-Hispanics.
Cervical cancer incidence rates are five times higher among Vietnamese-American women than white women.
Vaccination is key
With the disturbing numbers comes the recommendation from the CDC to prevent HPV cancers by vaccinating both men and women. The CDC recommends all preteens (ages 11 or 12) receive three doses of HPV vaccine before age 13 to protect against cervical and anal cancers, as well as genital warts. Cervical cancer screenings are recommended, yet the CDC reports 8 million U.S. women ages 21-65 have not been screened in the last five years.
“This means many women are at risk of not catching this disease before it spreads,” researchers stated. “Screening programs only exist for cervical cancer. There are no screening programs for other HPV cancers, making the HPV vaccine even more important for prevention of HPV cancers.”
Researchers recommend pap tests, starting and finishing the HPV vaccine series, and discussing HPV cancer prevention with health professionals.
“Educate yourself, your family, and your community on HPV and HPV vaccine,” researchers concluded.
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