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Cervical cancer more deadly than previously thought

Pennsylvania women may be interested in the results of a study on cervical cancer. According to the study, the rate of death from the disease is significantly higher than previously thought, and this is largely due to a major oversight in previous studies.

The Johns Hopkins study accounted for women who have undergone hysterectomies. Previous studies did not take hysterectomies into account, but a woman who has had a hysterectomy cannot get cervical cancer. Previous estimates were that cervical cancer killed 3.2 out of 100,000 white women and 5.7 out of 100,000 black women. This study showed a higher rate of 4.7 out of 100,000 for white women, while the rate for black women was nearly double at 10.1 out of 100,000.

The study gave no clear indication of why there is a significantly higher mortality rate among black women. Many of the women dying from cervical cancer are over the age of 65, which is the age that women are no longer recommended to have regular pap tests to screen for the disease.

The recommended guidelines advise women to have a pap test every three years beginning at age 21, and then a pap test combined with an test for human papilloma virus every five years beginning at age 30. There is also a vaccine available to prevent HPV. Screening combined with the HPV vaccine makes cervical cancer highly preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One gynecologist who was not involved in the study says that the racial disparity in cervical cancer deaths may be due to limited access to screening for black women. She says that this issue must be addressed and better access must be made available.

Patients who undergo screening tests for cancer have a right to expect accurate results. A failure to diagnose the illness could be a case of medical malpractice. People who have been harmed in such a manner may want to meet with an attorney to learn about the legal options that may be available.

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