Published: Thu, January 26, 2017
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

More Women Die of Cervical Cancer Than Previously Thought

The study did not compare prevalence of risk factors, diagnosis and treatment rates, or access to care, so it can not draw definite conclusions as to why these big differences exist-so it's not clear if you are more likely to get cancer in those counties, or just die of it (say, due to lack of effective treatment).

Cancer mortality is widely variable depending on where you live in the United States, according to a study examining 35 years of data for 29 types of cancer. To get the more accurate numbers, researchers excluded women who have had their cervixes removed through hysterectomies.

Stark distinguishing in regional cancer death rates has been found in previous research, but this stands out for providing a particular estimate for deaths from almost 30 types of cancer in all 3,100 counties in the United States over 35 years.

Study authors say this work tells us as long as a woman retains her cervix, it is important to screen for cervical cancer since the risk of death from the disease remains significant into old age.

Those same two counties also ranked highest and lowest for 2014 deaths specifically from lung cancer-the cancer that kills more Americans than any other. But with the impending defunding of programs like Planned Parenthood, which uses federal funds to provide these exact preventative services to nearly 300,000 people each year, we risk an enormous rise in cervical cancer deaths - among other disastrous effects.

Liver cancer was one of the few where mortality has climbed nearly everywhere in the United States, including Miami-Dade, where the death rate rose by 46 percent over 34 years to about 6.6 of every 100,000 people. Most women's test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women the test shows some abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. Cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted disease that can be prevented by early detection and vaccination.

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The likelihood of developing cervical cancer can be increased by tobacco usage, stress, giving birth before the age of 17, three or more pregnancies, long-term use of oral contraceptives and poor diet choices. The new death rate for black women in the U.S. is on part with that of developing countries.

Here's the reality about cervical cancer: it's preventable.

Most human papillomavirus infections cause no symptoms and most disappear without treatment. North America dominated the global cervical cancer diagnostic market in 2015 on account of the rising incidence of HPV infection, rising number of women smokers, and growing aged population. Tests for specific HPV strains can support earlier diagnosis of cervical cancer.

"Death rates differ dramatically between different types of cancers, and certain regions saw great progress in reducing cancer deaths and others fell behind", said lead researcher Dr. Christopher Murray.

"We need to continue to advocate for increased federal funding for cancer research".

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