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More Pap Tests and HPV Vaccines Would Save Lives

Cervical Cancer kills a few thousand U.S. women each year. Even worse news is that Louisiana accounts for a large number of those deaths, with the state having the fourth highest cervical cancer mortality rate in the nation.

These are statistics that can and must be changed. According to the Louisiana Tumor Registry (LTR), Pap tests have radically reduced nationwide cervical cancer deaths to less than a third of the rate that women died of the disease in 1969, yet there are still women who do not get regular screenings. The CDC says that in 2012, 8 million women had not been screened in the last five years – in spite of the fact that seven out of 10 of those had a regular doctor and health insurance.

Black, Vietnamese & Hispanic Women at Higher Risk

According to the LTR, black women in Louisiana have both higher cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates than black women nationwide. The CDC says that Hispanic women in the U.S. experience the highest cervical cancer incidence rates of any racial/ethnic group anywhere in the country. And, overall the CDC says, black, Hispanic and Vietnamese women have cervical cancer mortality rates above the national average. These groups have traditionally have had less access to Pap tests, but with the advent of ACA, knowledge about programs such as LBCHP, and the longer recommended times between screenings, these groups can reduce their death rates.

The Louisiana Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (LCCCP) (www.lcccp.org), whichworks on creating awareness about cancers that can be prevented or mitigated with screenings and lifestyle choices, is one of the CDC-funded Louisiana Cancer Prevention andControl Programs (LCP) housed at the LSU Health Sciences Center School of Public Health. Sister programs include the Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health Program (LBCHP) and the Louisiana Tumor Registry (LTR). For more information, go to www.louisianacancer.org.