Black women die of cervical cancer at far higher rates than previously thought, according to a study published Monday in the journal Cancer. In fact, they die from it at more than twice the rate of white women.
Researchers found that, when controlling for women who’ve had hysterectomies — in other words, excluding from the study women whose risk of cervical cancer has effectively been eliminated — death rates from cervical cancer rise for both white and black women, but far more dramatically for black women. Rates of death measured between 2000 and 2012 jumped from 3.2 per 100,000 white women and 5.7 per 100,000 black women, to 4.7 and 10.1, respectively.
“The rate of death [of black women] is still twice that for white women,” the authors wrote. “This is a public health disparity that cannot be ignored.”
According to the paper, the exclusion of women who’ve had hysterectomies in the data affects the rate of death for black women more because they have a higher rate of hysterectomies.
Each year more than 12,000 women are diagnosed with the disease in the U.S., and more than 4,000 die.